Bon Vivant Exhibition
Galeri MCRD presents Bon Vivant exhibition of Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay in the new leading art venue of Izmir. The artist invites us to revel in a liberating sense of flux that, as much as it applies to the nascent identity of the other worlds she paints, alludes to the creative act itself.
Jan 11-Feb 4, 2023
This solo exhibition in this recently renovated historical venue presents several digital paintings by Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay. To date, she has established herself as sui generis in her style.Cagatay embellishes as she describes, her brushwork often too intricate, her colours edging towards over-ripe or chemical hues suggestive of transformation or intoxication. Reclaiming some of art's grand themes and spotlighting the degree of boldness that necessarily accompanies any new interpretation, the artist invites us to revel in a liberating sense of flux that, as much as it applies to the nascent identity of the other worlds she paints, alludes to the creative act itself.Light and color pervade every aspect of Cagatay's work. The Istanbul artist’s radiant, vibrant paintings are marked by tonal and chromatic shifts that operate in concert with her richly woven stories. She also often explores visual manifestations of duality—light and darkness, abstraction and figuration, reality and otherworldliness—finding symmetry and balance in seeming opposition.
The artist has embraced the Surrealist canon, looking back into the history of surrealist painting and making it her own. Cagatay’s magical landscapes draw on a vast range of references, from 19th century poetry to paranormal television. In most of her work, fantastical overgrowth surrounds a solitary figure – creating an image at once beautiful, intoxicating and threatening.Her evocative landscapes have a Sui Generis personality which do not spark comparisons with anyone, from surrealists to futurists. Permeated by an aura of exoticism and decadence, and loaded with codes and double-meanings, the works further point to the intricacies of self-identity, while celebrating moments of transformation – the ordinary becoming extraordinary.She uses both acrylics and a digital brush to produce immersive semi abstract compositions that borrow from the maximalist structures of Surrealism and Futurism while evoking ancient theories of energy and perception.Praised for their sense of color, the saturated paintings depict sublime surreal landscapes punctuated with small figures, creatures navigating through towering waves, and vertigo-inducing reflections, cleverly conflating up and down, then and now.
Hers is a hypnotic swirl of saturated color that is at once timeless and contemporary, prompting consideration of the diversity of personal meanings that she has assigned to shape and pattern.Her diverse interests recur throughout her oeuvre, suffused as it is with allusions to spirituality and the metaphysical, and drawing as it does on various practices originating in Eastern tradition.Cagatay has taken an evolving pictorial search which she has honed in recent years into a more pared down style which suits her development.Working with the traditions of figurative and landscape painting as well as abstraction, the artist incorporates her expansive knowledge of color in layers of art historical references. She continues to further explore the ways in which her interpretation of other worlds could be reimagined and presented in surreal tableaux.A triumphant example of the artist’s mature oeuvre, her 2022 painting Metamorphoses combines myriad visual motifs accrued over the course of the artist’s career, rearranged to form an original composition in a process similar to that of her earlier paintings. This lyrical and provocative digital work draws from a previous, smaller composition on acrylics painted just prior and encompasses the recurrent backgrounds of a dark sky and mountain range, with her birds at center in a range of colors.
Growing up in Istanbul with an art teacher for a mother, Cagatay became familiar with art at a young age. This experience kick-started the mental and physical database of visual references that she continues to draw on for her meticulously detailed paintings today. Her artist mother taught her painting and art history as a child, and introduced her to the work of the masters, which inspired the artist from a young age; leading to national art prizes - including a first prize in a nation wide art competition when she was a high school senior. She has studied from 11 to 19 years old in Lycée de Galatasaray, a major establishment having formed the politicians and artists of the country. She had the opportunity to use the school’s art studio on the Bosphorus exclusively. The French influence she received in this centuries old school with a blend of French and Turkish curricula reflects in her paintings. She has been invited to the major art academy of the country, and studied at Bosphorus University Business School; which also taught a rich humanities program. The artist pursued a finance executive career working as a management committee member for multinational companies, and quit to indulge in her passion for art. She gave herself a tailored art education, living in art centers - Paris, London and New York- and studied contemporary art at the programs of IESA Paris, Sotheby’s Institute of Art London and New York. She then had exhibited her work both solo or in group at the gallery she co-founded in 2013, and also at Contemporary Istanbul 2014,2019 , 2020 and 2021 and also in Scope New York 2020 with a solo presentation, and last at Bodrum Art Fair 2021 and 2022.