Article 3: VIEWING IŞIL GÜLEÇYÜZ PAINTINGS
Translated by Çiçek Öztek
To begin with, an artist is obliged to look, see, and sense/hear, whatever her area, beyond an obligation, to perceive as a way of life…
Işıl Güleçyüz is a painter. Therefore, she always has to observe and to perceive, that is what the young artist actually does. She looks, watches, and perceives, all eyes and ears, empathizing with her environment. Her spiritual sensitivity is always being nourished and expanded by the sounds she hears.
Living in a large cosmopolitan city surely resonates intensely within her artist spirit, and she starts conversing though her brush … She lifts her careful gaze upwards—first to the doors, the walls, then to people, even cats and dogs clustering in front, around the doors and walls … And the portraits on the walls she paints, perhaps some of them are of friends, some are who knows who they are, perhaps seeking anonymous fame … as if symbolizing the ephemeral nature of the fame. Of course, with her authentic sensitivity, she does know that the art of painting is not an art of storytelling, but still, with the inspiration of the streets, she continues to reflect all those images on her canvas.
And then the question of how she narrates, and how she perceives, appropriates and reflects… I would say without hesitation that she never indulges in the joy of the color. Instead she believes in the striking power of the simple, of contentment with little. Time to time, she expects her viewer to contribute, she uses a bit of black, a little grey, sometimes off-white here, a rare stroke of red there, perhaps magnifying that power.
Işıl Güleçyüz is an amateur artist who should be recognized. In other words, she is one of those artists not coming from a formal art education but rather from workshop work built upon a sound, higher education in another field, who asserts her great ambition and transforms it into a way of life …
I was a jury member for the recent Navy Painting Award, together with Vural Bayazıt, Devrim Erbil, Ergin İnan, Tomur Atagök, and Aydın Ayan. In this competition, she won the Jury Encouragement Award, and I felt hopeful about her achievement and her future … and with these words, I wish to convey this hopefulness to you, so that you will feel hope and happiness as well.
Article 2: LOOK UP
Translated by Ayşe Öztek
The city, with its fabric of endless richness offers a great source of inspiration to many artists, whereas the city of Istanbul, with its historical texture, nature and sounds and colors filtered directly from its life urges the artist to make a choice.
Işıl Güleçyüz has captured her source of inspiration on the walls of the city where she lives. Her artwork is predominantly focused on the walls of Beyoğlu within the context of historical fabric of Istanbul. While she attempts to visualize all the colors and unique attractions of the city via the walls, she, at the same time, aims at becoming the chronicler of the city.
The artist perceives the walls as an endless, timeless material. She thinks we may miss the extent of the cultural richness of the walls of Istanbul that reflect particularly people and everything pertaining to them so beautifully. That is why those walls that people pass by without even noticing give the artist such inspiration.
Figure in painting has always been an important and exciting factor for Işıl Güleçyüz. She has always allowed a special place for figures in every subject she has chosen to depict −including her interior design work, landscapes and her “metro” series.
In her most recent works, figures have intertwined with the walls. People who are waiting in front of the walls or those who are walking by, going away, the animals of our city…This is how she tells us the things that have made an impression on her or are still effecting her, concerning the city or about life in general. Figures created by the artist seem to be walking from one canvas to another, in the form of stencils or as real human beings in flesh and bones. The viewers on the other hand, are left alone with an illusion: Are the figures really walking by those walls or are they simply stencil wall paintings? They can never be sure.
The artist, in this second solo exhibition, invites us to look up as we walk in the streets. Somewhere high up, we see her figures and birds that are an indispensable part of the skies. And sometimes we wonder what else are there high up, and we curiously follow the gaze of those figures. Actually the presence of these figures is not literally an invitation for us to look higher than our eye level; in fact it is more of a provocation to look and capture that essence inherent in objects that we usually miss in our daily lives, things we never notice though they are worthy of our attention.
Writings and signs on the walls carry traces of the artist’s personal history as well as impressions of events recently experienced, but none of these are really explicit or easy to read with a few exceptions; they are only some tiny little blurred clues. For here, the aim is not to give a clear message, but is to provoke the viewer to make some effort for remembering memories, feelings, turning points in his/her life that changed things, buried deep down in the sub-conscious. Therefore the signs are not clear; it is up to the viewer to decipher following the clues.
Actually it is possible to simply follow the trail of the city we live in, the colors that reflect the people in the streets and the traces left by those people in the art of Işıl Güleçyüz without getting lost in all these thoughts. In fact, the artist says, “I wish people would find some part of themselves in these paintings, enjoy the art of painting, and sensibly remember our city that is undergoing a fast relentless change.”
Article 1: MONOCHROME WALLS AND STENCIL FIGURES
Translated by Ayşe Öztek
When the subject matter is mural painting, we cannot really perceive the importance of the idea that something has a history of its own without delving into the era of ancient times. These magical rituals that began with the bison figures scribbled onto the walls of caves by the first human beings give the clues of their desire to protect themselves from those powers they cannot really withstand and to keep danger away from them. These symbols on the cave walls provide us with the opportunity to rebuild the history of human life and their place within the history of art-chronology through visual analysis. From the prehistoric times up to our age, the obsession of human beings to express themselves by drawing pictures appears to be one of the most basic activities we encounter. The desire to keep, protect and certify their own lifestyle has been one of the basic influences on the thinking of artists throughout time. The evolution of the phenomenon named “painting as an art form” as seen during various manifestations and periods of artists from El Greco to Vermer, Duchamp up to Stella or David Salle is regarded as one of the results of such evolutionary work of the mind. First examples of these artworks are the cave-pictures of the Stone Age. Alongside the pictures discovered in the Lascaux caves of France palettes made of slender flat stones, chunks of natural paint, remains of burnt tallow and candlewick were discovered. We can appreciate how correctly the way the hunter population interpreted nature in their wall and ceiling pictures using every material they could find around, manipulating each corner on the wall or every protruding stone to use as a part of the overall anatomical characteristic of the figure.
The most convincing confirmation of the evidence regarding the value of wall paintings as a source of artistic inspiration comes from Leonardo da Vinci, a great master of the Renaissance. Leonardo has said: “Look at those walls that have been smeared with various stains and built with different stones. If you want to create a scene in your mind you can think they resemble a variety of scenery with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, meadows, deep valleys and hills. You can also imagine a war scene with people running to and fro in great haste, with strange expressions on their faces, wearing strange clothes and an endless number of objects that you can later eliminate into a pre-planned form. Such walls and a combination of different stones do resemble hearing every single name or word you wish to hear in the pealing of the church bells.”
Işıl Güleçyüz, during the course of her work as a painter from the beginning in1998, had concentrated on the analysis of figures and she once again turns her attention to the figure, while transferring the “wall” that belongs to the figure, in other words to the human being onto surfaces as visual and historical images, within the process of creating her artistic codes, being conscious that the Renaissance and the 17th century masters of Netherlands used art as a medium with which they could transmit their messages to the people. In a way, the dominant visibility of her works associated to walls presents them as a metaphor of the vulnerability of the modern metropolis in wastelands. The surface of those walls that were built once upon a time, newly plastered and painted, covered with isolation material in keeping with the climate, city conditions and population etc, now have dirty, decrepit, time-worn surfaces with messages written all over them that can be seen in her paintings. As the city is being redesigned in keeping up with modern architecture, little details such as a historical door, a vault, a window as a small detail or an example of antiquity carrying touristic value are kept, having an important place within the construction work. While the protection of old buildings continued, strange images such as an electric transformer or a ventilation window on the walls remained but, stressing a funny discrepancy, usually unnoticed by the majority. She stresses upon the fact that the ties between real life and art are being torn apart and encourages us to question once again the more existential form of art that is rather isolated. She does not hold back from minimizing the possibilities at hand while she struggles to use every single imagery, color, line within the boundaries of a well-balanced system.
The passage of time is important; in Işıl’s paintings it does play an important role as well. Change in the city walls that have been carried to her paintings leave their traces towards forming a city memory, those walls that we come across every day, probably each and every one of them will soon disappear within the context of another new planning project. Those stencil figures that keep their followers running after them, that are just small blots, are transformed into a poetic language of crowded moods of loneliness, thanks to some manipulation of the same stencil, by changing its size, making it bigger or smaller or turning it upside down. And these figures, as they tell their own stories while they pass from one surface to another, one place to another, tell another story through signs and writings in different languages that appear at one side of the painting –in fact bringing a clarity to the multi-cultural aspect of this mega city.
Işıl’s work discipline that has been spread out in time, consists of a primary stage of tussle with drawings and then the use of a variety of paint, experimentation with application and the chemistry involved. After a process of creativity in which both the eye and the mind are involved is satisfactorily completed then it is time for sketches, rough drafts, composition of images and study of the colors and paint. Then these are carried over to canvases of different sizes. At this point we do not get to meet with the preparation phase that contains the effects of work of those long years left behind; in reality we meet various stages of the target set to the future. And it now makes it imperative that we start to deal with the walls within us, a reckoning, a settlement of previous accounts. Işıl Güleçyüz’s silhouettes cut out from cartoons, pursuing us on the monochrome walls…