Journey to the Unknown Online Exhibition
Cagatay’s entendre-rich paintings aim to teleport the viewer into an unknown place outside the manmade world. Dream worlds are fertile territory, one that allows the imagination to roam freely, to envision what might be to come. She proposes a different form of landscape painting, one that functions more like poetry, where cerebral and emotional experience collide. Fluid, improvisatory and instinctual, her paintings abound with ambivalent imagery.
May 16-June 20, 2020
About the Artist
This exhibition includes several works on paper and canvas by Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay, and invites the viewers to contemplate an imaginary dreamworld. Its anchor point, Halcyon Days, 2020, depicts a winged lion face to face with a beautiful bird. Lion and bird are symbols generally used for power positions, and the observers of this private moment are left to guess the circumstances of the encounter. The artist’s suggestive imagery gives the clues in the posture of the figures.The lion’s body language is not menacing. The fabled halcyon bird said to calm the wind and the sea represents a tranquil period of happiness, often nostalgic.Hence the painting's title alludes to the artist’s nostalgia for better times of the past, fondly remembered in these stormy Corona days.
The artist has a long-held fascination with the unknown, the unfamiliar and the futuristic. She creates complex paintings suggesting a fantastical world full of intricate detail and jewel–like surfaces. Through microscopic areas of detail, dramatic coloring and exaggeration she comes up with theatrical works. They appear as a vivid entanglement of densely grouped bulging volumes arranged dramaturgically. Populated with a wealth of hybrid creatures, her opulent scenery is at once microscopic and macroscopic; and her signature, immersive flower-like explosions like in A Star is Born are part of her quite Baroque imagery.Hypnotic circles, almost psychedelic patterns fragment the space, embodying the fluidity of time. The pictorial space consists mostly of swirling and twisted lines of vibrant color, each color representing a different note on the scale that gradually ascends and descends in a sequence of patterns; becoming ornate scenes coming to life with a sense of enigma. Poised between the strange and the familiar, the works are shaped by dreamlike associations that interconnect the works on which abstract remains visible amidst defined areas of representation.
Supernatural clouds emerge, hybrids creatures evolve in those waves of color sometimes pulsating with energy, some other time lost in reverie… Cagatay’s entendre-rich paintings aim to teleport the viewer into an unknown place outside the manmade world. Dream worlds are fertile territory, one that allows the imagination to roam freely, to envision what might be to come. She proposes a different form of landscape painting, one that functions more like poetry, where cerebral and emotional experience collide. Improvisatory, fluid and highly instinctual, her paintings abound with ambivalent imagery.With luminous kaleidoscopic effects they seem to represent candid snapshots of a moment, frozen as if time had stopped. They pivot between structure and openness, retaining a restless, searching quality.
Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay holds a BA from the Business Management department of Bosphorus University,Istanbul. Her art education started very early with her art teacher mother, and she received prizes at national art competitions while at Galatasaray High School, a major art establishment in Turkish art history. After a decade in corporate management, she decided to pursue her vocation, and opened her art studio, then co-founded Galeri MCRD. She had her first solo exhibition at All Arts Istanbul Fair in April 2013, and had other solo exhibitions at Galeri MCRD and also has participated to the group exhibitions at the gallery and at Contemporary Istanbul 2014. She had a solo exhibition at Contemporary Istanbul 2019 and at Scope NewYork 2020.