Gulay Semercioglu /   Gülay Semercioglu

Turkey 1968

Abstract Art

Gulay Semercioglu
Gülay Semercioglu
May 27, 2016
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Turkey is a rising star on the international art scene. Many young artists are forging a name for themselves, but there are some already famous and recognized. Gülay Semercioğlu, through her wire-made artworks, successfully avoids the risk of being parochial, subcultural, and ultimately trivial, and creates an international visual language that surmounts her surroundings, both geographical and social. That is precisely why she is the Turkish Artist the outside world is looking for. Observed from a distance, her pieces look like finely executed minimal and abstract paintings, but, as the viewer gets closer, another world opens up. It’s rich with wire that fills the canvas and creates wonderful lush fields and forms.

Gulay Semercioglu - Green Apple, 2012. Image via Leila Heller Gallery
Gülay Semercioğlu – Green Apple, 2012

The Art of Wire

Semercioğlu was a painter for a number of years, and that practice has left a clear trace on her current process. Sure, the paint may have been replaced with wire, and instead of classical canvases, she works with firm wooden frames, but her style is forever indebted to the painting. There is no figuration, no reference and no narrative in her artworks, so reminiscent of the brush strokes of an abstract painter. She’s manipulating depth and uses materials that create patterns and textures, carefully balancing the colors, shapes, spaces, and surfaces. In fact, her pieces are so rich in color that they look like as fine examples of Color Field abstraction, one that we usually relate to Yves Klein or Mark Rothko.

She was a painter for a number of years, and that has left a trace on her current process

Gulay Semercioglu - Face to Face, 2012 (Left) - Split in Two, 2012 (Right). Image via Leila Heller Gallery
Gülay Semercioğlu – Face to Face, 2012 (Left) / Split in Two, 2012 (Right)

The Dualities

Her work evokes dualities – sculptural and painterly, East and West, art and craft, ancient and high-tech. The artist enjoys in making these contradictions, but also in creating possibilities of their reconciliation. The pieces are often made out of miles of wire, and they usually take months to be finished. All that hard work is visible and appreciated. Hypnotizing, as well. As she admits, the viewers like to touch the pieces, and that’s a fulfillment of her goals – the artworks are tactile, made by touch, and they communicate on that level. The wire is being used in a way the painter uses paint. Even though there are seemingly some limitations in her choice of the material, she thinks of wire as a wonderful thing that’s offering her endless possibilities. With every new exhibition, Semercioğlu uses wire and screws in a different way, and that’s because the artist is changing, and the materials are simply following her on the journey.

The artworks are tactile, made by touch, and they communicate on that level

Gulay Semercioglu - Separate Pieces, 2012 (Left) - Black Gap, 2012 (Right). Image via Leila Heller Gallery
Gülay Semercioğlu – Separate Pieces, 2012 (Left) / Black Gap, 2012 (Right)

The Wires Speak

She studied painting and Social Sciences at Mimar Sinan University, and has a lot of experience in different fields of art, especially in the educational system and in gallery management. That is one of the reasons she was able to realize that the world of art is evolving incredibly fast, and only those thinking universally can catch up. Semercioğlu speaks through her wires, sometimes about the figurative, sometimes about the abstract, about feminine and masculine, about emotional tensions and releasing socially. Ultimately, the wires speak about what the artist wants to do, and she remains loyal to them as they always manage to successfully project her thoughts.

Gülay Semercioğlu lives and works in Istanbul.

Featured image: Gülay Semercioğlu – Golden Circles (detail), 2012
All images courtesy of Leila Heller Gallery

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016The Power of FormPlato Sanat, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2015The Woman On The WirePi Artworks, London, UKSolo
2015The Woman On The WireThe Safa Hotel, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2014Walking on the WirePi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2014Autonomous and BeautifulAkbank Sanat, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2014The Language of HUman ConsciousnessAthr Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaGroup
2013Sublime Porte: An Exhibition of Contemporary Turkish ArtDr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, St. JOhn's University, New York, USAGroup
2012Variations on LineLeila Heller Gallery, New York, USASolo
2012The Line Of LifeGallery Etemad, UAESolo
2011Erotic LinePi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2011Dream and Reality - Modern and Contemporary Women Artists from TurkeyIstanbul Modern, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2010Mardin BeinnialMardin, TurkeyGroup
2010Istanbul CoolLTMH Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2010Kasa 10th Year ExhibitionSabanci Univeristy Kasa Galery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2009Light on LinePi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2009In StitchesLTMH Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2009Istanbul Nex Wave: Under my feet i want the world, not heavenAkademie Der Kunste, Pariser Platz, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009KaleidoscopeKashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
20082XTPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2007ArtIstanbul 2007Pi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006inforNationPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006deforNationPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006Kinetic LinePi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2005This Is For You, 50 Artists 50 WorksIstanbul Modern Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2005Marinart 05Bodrum, TurkeyGroup
2004Thee One I See Is Not YouPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2004Beyodlu 14-18Akbank Sanat, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2004Young Artists VAlmelek Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2003Gulay CemerciogluOne Culture Arts Center, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2002ApproachesAkbank Sanat, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001Nature and ManElturca Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001TRT Painting and Ceramic CompetitonMilitary Museum, Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, TurkeyGroup
2000TimesPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
200021st Contemporary Artists Istanbul ExhibitionState Gallery of Fine Arts, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1999Turkish Jokey Club Painting Competiton ExhibitionVeli Efendi Hippodrome Naval Museum, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1999KasaSabanci University Kasa Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
1998ReflectionsAyse and Ercumend Kalmyk Foundation, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
1998Print ExhibitionMimar Sinan University, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1996Gulay CemerciogluTaksim Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo