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Optical Illusion and Fluorescent Brightness

Art & essay by Suzan BATU

Suzan Batu is one of artists with the Summer Group exhibition at the Jeffery Coploff Art Gallery in Manhattan. The exhibiton will be open until September 2002.

In my work I explore the possibilities of abstract art as a medium through which to convey meaning - to create a bridge between the cultural and the personal. My colors and shapes relate to experiences ranging from the intensely personal to shared experiences. I try to explore the tension between opulence and austerity, between expressiveness and restraint between the organic and the decorative.  I use the swirling shapes of the Baroque as well as elements of cartoons, and combine them with uplifting colors to create paintings designed to entice, to create optimism, to instill confidence and security in order to make it possible for the viewer to experience a moment of joy. The arabesques, my use of which I trace back to the examples of Arabic calligraphy I had been exposed to throughout my childhood in Turkey bind together the old and new, East and West. The forms and shapes are at once austere, hard-edged but also delicate and humorous. The hand of the artist is invisible, but the paintings have a subtly handcrafted feel: every curve and shape lovingly painted and repainted dozens of times, covered with dozens of thin coats of acrylic paint.


 The optical illusion and the fluorescent brightness of the colors, combined with pulsating shapes are an attempt, as vain as it may seem, to delay for the viewer the inevitable glance into the void - to give him/her the illusion of immortality for an instance longer.


My work has gone through many changes over the years. One thing, though, remains constant: at its core it is very much about living in N.Y. When I first came here my work became hard-edged, geometric, bright. It reflected the impressions the city had made on me upon arriving here: its architecture, its relentless energy. As time went by different aspects of this place began revealing themselves to me.  I stopped seeing New York City as a monolithic dreamscape, instead, its multifaceted character began infusing my work.  I started using many different materials like plastics and glitter. I made paintings in different styles of abstraction and displayed them all salon style, each piece vying with the other for the viewer's attention.


Lately my work has changed again. It originates less in outside stimuli and more in personal experience. I have internalized what to me is the iconography of New York City and combined it with my own. It is more about a life being lived day to day in this exciting place than a discovery of the place itself. My use of unduly intense color and the sharpness of the shapes still has its origin in the energy of the city.


I don't know if living here in New York City for any length of time would ever diminish its fascination for me. I guess as someone who came from far away and started dreaming about it long ago, it will always remain a source of inspiration for me.

_ . _

Suzan Batu's New Paintings
Light Millennium, March-April 2000 Issue
Suzan Batu - Biography

E-mail: suzanbatu@aol.com

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