Gulay Alpay Solo Exhibition
September 8 – 17, 2006
Opening: September 8, 2006
Curator: Tchera Niyego
Location: Turkish Center – Culture and Tourism Office Gallery, 821 United Nations Plaza – New York, NY 10017
Gulay Alpay’s work displays delicacy and fragility, revealing a deep respect for something fundamental, some primal, indigenous sense of shape and color, yet she creates with bursts of contemporary idioms. Her paintings are playful, spirited, freeform and deceptively complex. There’s not a single corner, hard edged, geometric line to be found in her composition, instead the shapes are as fluid as the submerged sounds that fuel her imagination.
There are connections to Sigmar Polk, Arshile Gorky, Kandinsky, Pollock, De Kooning, and less obvious, Josef Beuys.
Alpay’s oeuvre is organic, her shapes biomorphic. In her latest series, she’s inspired to save the whales, but the images are part of the abstract motifs with occasional words and phrases that are distractions from an otherwise controlled, well-articulated, passionate technique. It has been ten years since Alpay was initially inspired by the songs of whales, and her work has become freer and more experimental since this point.
The fact that almost all of her work is on silk is itself a trademark, a signature. Some of the work is unframed, hung like a banner suggesting freedom of material and color; the form does not confine them. On the other hand, when the works are framed, she places a layer of foam behind them that stretches the silk into deeper curves, extending the shape and colors. This method gives it a playful, satirical, even Pop-arty, dimension. Like taking a piece of exotic tapestry or embroidered pillow case fabric and framing it to the wall, Alpay plays with the boundaries between craft and fine art. It is humorous and ironic, and in the end you take notice: you are surprised by its beauty and grace. (Abraham Lubelski)
writer-criticer-artist: Yilmaz Zenger
I have seen the paintings of Gülay the first time in New York in Broadway Gallery’s archive. At first glance the material used have confused my mind: Silk. Besides, it carried me to my own past, to the silky dresses we have produced with Güler Umur. They had been hand-painted. Painting silk is inister. It is completely different from painting on canvas. It is a must on dressings, but here why as a peinture? First I thought maybe Gülay expects a kind of experimentalism for the form of the painting. But, where it reaches now -in her own words- the transparency and light-reflect ability of silk gives value to the painting as one can look at the paintings both from inside and outside. Gülay finds her material special and valuable due to its thin transparent texture, reflect ability of light, hard to get wrinkled, easy going with silk ink, openness to the spontaneous surprises… giving opportunity and freedom for big scale works, being light and easy to transform… presenting different material choices from canvas… easy to exhibit and most of all the best for the things Gülay wants to show. She loves her material, and thinks about it as a magical material upon which she can reflect her spontaneous expressions of her energy and spirit immediately.
It is obvious that she doesn’t intend to present paintings in the ordinary way. The carriers of art objects aren’t considered important, we don’t put them in the design process. Gülay turns this upside down and gives the best place to the carrier. Thus her paintings take the long way till she gets her brush in her hand. Besides, she says that she finishes the painting in her head before she begins to paint with brush. She says she works very fast and without break once she begins. Her paintings approve this speed and continuity as well. The paintings define the needs as they appear. Forms appear, articulate in this process and the content is vowen just like a silk. As a result, this extraordinary speed takes her mind after her hand and the paint produces itself by almost being woven on Gülay’s loom. An orgasm with all spontaneous sensitivities out of will -colours, calligraphy, but under control by the experience. Almost a physical satisfaction. A sharp conflict between the material and the content.
According to Gülay, her last work is an illuminated, transparent painting room for her paintings. Well. This definition clears her analysis upon the painting and audience relation. The two dimension of painting follows another here in this image-carousal surrounding the audience where she arrived with her instinct of passing over of the painting plane. In short, this micro cosmos which have been formed by the differentiation of relations with the paintings, forms a 3rd dimension which the relations call a mental benefit into being. She says that there will be the sounds of whales in the room -the original recordings of Jim Nollman. The audience will be able to walk in and around the art object. I think that music is the right support for this 3rd dimension. The desire for painting big scales is like an emulation to the productivity of a documentary camera. The so-called space is a clear definiton, almost cinematographicaly…. In short these are her dreams on the projection of painting.
If we come to the content of the paintings of Gülay, I am afraid that my knowledge of perception and design will be out of service. I feel in a place where I m not totally competent and I can tell about my feelings in the name of being an audience.
She is a professional painter who have stabilized, completed her way of painting, in the literal sense. When it comes to the content of the painting, experimentalism have been pushed back where it had to be. The analogy in her paintings is a product of this dignity. Why she says that “my painting involves concepts beyond the classical senses of time and space.. It is as if there is more than one space and time and where one finishes, the other begins is also unknown’’, and why she tightly holds on to the two dimension is maybe because of the pressure of our traditional art. It is also possible to say that her effort for third dimension is also a reaction to this pressure. Abraham Lubelsky defines her position in the painting cosmos as playful, satirical, even Pop-arty and he adds “Like taking a piece of exotic tapestry or embroidered pillow case fabric and framing it to the wall, Alpay plays with the boundaries between craft and fine art. It is humorous and ironic’’, “There are connections to Sigmar Polk, Arshile Gorky, Kandinsky, Pollock, De Kooning, and less obvious, Josef Beuys.”