Other Worlds Exhibition
Galeri MCRD presents a selection of digital collages and a kinetic sculpture by Özlem Paker and paintings by Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay. ”Other Worlds” series comprise paintings which are all aiming at going “beyond reality”.
December 2 2014- January 17, 2015
About the Artists
Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay’s artistic work is a constantly evolving enquiry into cosmos and the human condition. In her paintings ,the familiar and the visionary are inextricably interwoven, creating new associations; like in one of her dream landscapes “Deep Blue”. Her paintings open up windows onto a universe in which narratives are reimagined; leading the viewers onto another plane of consciousness.She aims at ambivalence , creating complex allegories imbued with humor. While seeking to create her own artistic territory, she starts to build on the Surrealist ground and continues to use neo-romantic elements while trying to reach out to the sublime. She feels at ease with Pop Art and in league with Postmodernism, winking at the new rise of the Gothic storytelling. As a person drawn to exaggeration, she takes the intricateness of her paintings to extreme, inviting the viewers to a tactile experience ,creating the illusion of being dense with heavy encrustations of paint: Everyone wants to touch them and are met instead by cool fatness. Fusing an array of vibrantly painted fora and fauna ,she creates an ecosystem inhabited by hybrid creatures. In a visual interplay of the familiar and the unknown, she is trying to imagine macrocosmic depths of the universe.
Oscillating between representation and abstraction, her dream like imagery is frozen in time.Her perspective engenders an indeterminacy that veers sharply from the real world. Producing works of great internal complexity, she aims at creating an artificial reality.Her figures hang in the air somewhere between free fall and surreal suspension.By looking closely at the surfaces of the paintings, you can access the more important information : cosmologies, birds of paradise ,butterflies, sharks, hybrid creatures, mother nature, meditation of the derviches, angels, etc.The occupants of her paintings are the stuff of dreams.Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay’s art is based on her individual imagery, rather than the reality of nature. In her heavily surrealistic digital compositions standing somewhere in between the abstract and the figurative, the intense movement targeting the viewer’s subconsciousness is highly pronounced. The use of color that carries the traces of old master painters and that the artist herself defines as “curvy” and “fluent”, has an important role in Cagatay’s artistic language. Her body of work is reminiscent of the chaotic world the contemporary human being lives in and the inner turmoil it creates, while it offers windows opening into other worlds where escape is possible.
The curator of the Reflex exhibition İpek Yeğinsü comments about “Özlem Paker's work: Rhythm”, the photocollage series by Özlem Paker, uses the repetitions we encounter both in natural elements and manmade structures. The artist with a deep interest in the formation and transformation of matter, enriches color and form through light effects generated by the plexiglass and through unusual framing. Deconstructing the photographed image, transforming it and recombining it in digital environment, Paker conducts a deep research into the possibilities offered by the space. Utterly different textures and forms emerge while reflections, intersections and overlappings merge. These completely new images overthrowing our expectations rely on the very mathematical rules at the basis of the perfect sequences found in nature. At this point the hierarchy and the boundaries between the natural and the artificial cease to exist. Is the observed and documented geometry more real; or the composition deliberately created by the response to it? With a constructivist approach, Paker implies to the viewer that her purpose is to reconcile these two images instead of making them compete.
Özlem Paker's installation Pinning the Map illustrates the complexity of memory and cognitive processes. The kinetic bust is covered with memory and thought balloons emerging from the respective regions of the brain and the pins inserted into them. The overloaded mind floats in the vortice of thousands of data and fights against the brainwashing mechanisms targeting it; the slow spin both implies a universe generating internal movement and the helplessness of the disoriented individual with unsettled thoughts. The questions, problems and mental pressures manifest such a wide variety that they range from simple, “to-be-remembered” codes such as phone numbers or passwords to good-bad, beautiful-ugly judgments and plans to save the world. Yet they all essentially coexist in the mind; they have the same priority and it is impossible to establish a hierarchy between them. In the right context, the place of a key in every individual’s small universe can become as crucial as saving the world. Isn’t our reality the sum of our daily lives and basic decisions, after all?
Özlem Paker is an interdisciplinary artist. Concentrating on mixed- and multi- media, the artist’s works perform transitions between 2-, 3- and virtual dimensions. By using many media together or individually, she provides herself a very flexible and free playground as well as a very progressive one. Paker’s diverse international experiences are captured in the structural and socio-political aspects of her work. Condition of being woman and human, universal interaction, relatedness, connectedness, and existential rhythm are the main inspirational elements reflected in her artistic explorations. She creates a language between psychology, eastern and western philosophy, spirituality and their existential reflections. Stating that the creating process is a spiritual adventure in itself that leads to finding one’s self again and again, Paker prefers to surprise her viewer at first, then to invite her/him into her meditation space to trigger the dialogue.
A graduate of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University with a BFA, Özlem Paker later received her graduate degree, MFA in multimedia at Parsons School of Art & Design’s Design & Technology Department. Simultaneously, she has been a faculty member in Product and Communication Design departments. Having lived in New York City from 1992 to 2002, she concentrated on new media technologies, researched the changing face of multimedia usage in art, and developed interactive projects. Paker today lives and works mainly in Istanbul. Besides the American Craft Museum, Istanbul Fine Arts Museum, Art Istanbul and Contemporary Istanbul Fairs, Beyaz Contemporary Art Auctions, Paker’s works are being featured at various art galleries and events, and are being included in corporate and private collections across the globe.
Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay started to get involved with the world of paints and paintings as a small child as the daughter of an art teacher mother; and received her foundations from her and her large art history books collection. A major establishment in Turkish art history, Galatasaray High School she attended from 11 to 19 years old provided a favorable environment for arts education. After winning the 1st prize in THY’s national competition, she has been invited to the State Academy of Fine Arts, but she attended Bosphorus University Business School. After working in corporate management for a decade, she started to pursue her vocation in 2007. She self-studied painting in her İstanbul studio, and educated herself in the art fairs, museums, galleries and bookstores of Paris, London and NYC, focusing also in psychology and political science. She attended art auctions, and the education programs of Sotheby’s Institute of Art and IESA. She had her first exhibitions at Galeri MCRD she co-founded starting from the gallery’s foundation in 2012, and also had exhibited at All Arts Istanbul Fair in 2013 and Contemporary Istanbul in 2014.