The 3rd painting in the “Lessons” series…Just finished and ready to hang!
I don’t think I’ve done a self portrait since high school, but last last year, I began experimenting with drawing my features in a sketchbook. Perched in front of a mirror in my Istanbul apartment, on many cold nights, I sat drawing my image. Mostly because I was obsessed with drawing, and had no internet, but also because I wanted to explore the idea of self identity. In my current body of work, I have completed several self portraits in various forms and mediums, reflecting on the my year in Istanbul.
Before I left for Turkey, I was sure of myself, and my identity. However, during my time abroad, I found, with astonishment, that my identity began to shift. This was a time in my life when I was thrown out of the comforts of home and into a foreign culture, where I experienced emotional and bureaucratic difficulties. I was no longer myself in the context of home, but someone who must acclimate to a society with peculiar ideals and practices. Below are a few examples of self portraits that I will be exhibiting. In future work, as I have more experience in travel and foreign cultures, I will continue explore the effect of place on identity and sense of self.
Yeni Camii “The New Mosque” was began by Kosem Valide Sultana in 1597, and finally finished on by a later sultana in 1663. I walked by the structure almost daily, on various trips to the spice bazaar. Here, I have created an image of the magnificent mosque as I best remember it, on a bright and cold day last February. The light was exquisite, and I felt a particular pain in my heart knowing that I would soon leave Istanbul.
The pigeons flying over the image, were added to the painting with the intention of creating a surreal feeling. Living in Istanbul, I often felt as though everything was intensified, giving the city a dream-like quality. The birds, to me, represent this feeling, while creating movement and life. Here is the result of many hours of work, which seemed to slip by with ease and enjoyment as I recalled walking by the mosque on that clear day, with Trici by my side.
Upon returning home from my trip out west, I have been working like a bee in my studio, trying to meet another impending deadline. I have signed up for a solo exhibition in my home town, which is exciting because this is my first real show in a gallery since graduating from school. The theme of my exhibition is of course concerning my year in Istanbul. I have had so much to say about immersing myself in Turkish culture that at first, it was as though I was trying to force words and ideas through the small neck of a bottle, and they became trapped, cluttered and confused. But, after many months of work, a definite theme has developed, and I am thrilled with the organic formation of this project. From now up until my exhibition, I will be uploading images of the drawings and paintings as they come into completion. My full artist statement will come last as I don’t want to give the entire concept of the show away.
Featured in this post are 2 of 3 paintings with the tittle “Lessons.” Here I am pairing two subjects that held strong significance to me while living in Turkey. I could go deeply into a discussion of these images, but for now I would like them to speak for themselves. The 3rd painting in this series in nearly completed and will be uploaded soon. For now, please enjoy and feel free to comment!