An interview with Ayşe Gürkaş: On Images and Possibilities

In her paintings, Ayşe Gürkaş recreates the environment that she lives in and builds new possible images. When we think of the incidents occur around us at the same time, we can say that we are experiencing only our own truths. However, all existing realities bring along many possibilities. We had a conversation with Ayşe Gürkaş, on how she transforms this process into her artistic practice, referring her production process, and touching upon her dreams as well.

Ayşe Gürkaş is graduated from the Department of Painting and Printing Arts at Anadolu University, Faculty of Fine Arts. She is currently a graduate student at Dokuz Eylül University, Institute of Fine Arts, Department of Painting.

Hello Ayşe. Your undergraduate degree was on Painting and Printing Arts, could you please explain briefly the education that you had at this department? What kind of training is given? And how this kind of training influences your production process?

I am glad that you come up with this question and allow me to explain. Painting and Printing Arts Department at Anadolu University was founded to combine the two departments. However, a few years later the department was closed.

The reason I chose this department was to be able to learn different printing techniques. And, I took painting classes, art theory classes and various classes on alternative printing techniques. The fact that I know the printing types of equipment and techniques that I can use in the production phase of my works also brought financial benefits and allowed me to apply alternative methods. Let me explain in detail, as the printing process is carried out, it is often progressed in different layers for each color space, and at the end of this process, different stains and textures may emerge from the initial sketch. My experience here allowed me to find the courage to let off spatial appearances on my canvases when I came across it in my paintings or when it came to my mind.

I would like to explore more about your techniques since the relationship between the rapid progress of technology and art is taken into consideration. Would it be possible to claim that there is a relationship between your technique and your purpose? How do you decide upon your technique?

Although I use different mediums such as printing, painting, and video, my practice is mostly; oil painting on canvas. I used to work with acrylic paint for a while, but every time I got to run back to oil painting. Sometimes I am also tampering with collage.

My works from the Catching Series were about the profiles that we create in the virtual environment as individuals. All identities represent codes of zeros and ones by default while being so efficient in our sociological and psychological situations in real life. The technical reflection of this came from the use of the effect of three-dimensional illusion that we use to see in cinema technology. Looking towards the goggles from which each side is separately colored in magenta and cyan, the area of that color in the paintings came into prominence.

Ayşe Gürkaş – Captured 1

In some of your paintings, we see the sky and the clouds, but below, the soil does not exist. Why are you positioning the figures as if they are floating? Why is there a lack of perception of the ground?

Yes, some of my paintings do not have a sense of ground. But can’t we say that the ground is the soil that is drawn to the center of the earth because of gravity? What if you were somewhere else if you were something else, where the laws of physics are different or where there is no such universal system? But still, if you had the same individual information at the same place where you were and what if your favorite color was red again? With a childish curiosity, I break free all the rules of the game and reconstruct again and again.

In your paintings, there are images of the familiar world and are supported with figurative elements. How do you choose your subjects and the figures you will use in your paintings? Could you please explain it through the relationship between nature and humans?

Mostly, my selection of my themes does not appear by phase. I depict what I think, see, and discover. I’m always impressed by the fact that the universal system simply runs every day. I am fascinated by the simple principles such as the combination of clouds, moon, lights, and shadows on the earth, a stereotype for everyday life that everyone sees. We know that, yes, we see it all the time, but all these little fragments encourage me to think of all the cosmic things I can’t witness. At the same time, there are explosions on the surface of the sun, turning into a star supernova, our satellites around the world are functioning, a few more cells die in my body, and at that same moment I am standing at a bus stop and waiting for the bus number 690. In macro and micro dimensions, everything happens at the same time. They are all categorized by humans as; science, technology, sociology, psychology, art and many more can be added obviously. As human beings, we experience all these layers with different wavelengths at the same time every day. And it seems to me that the best way to understand and convey this experience is through the plastic arts. is an online art platform and one of the themes that you refer to in your artworks is the relationship between art and technology. From this point of view, what do you think about exhibiting your artworks on an online platform?

Nowadays we have an opportunity to reach and catch everything very quickly via the Internet. Online galleries are a necessity in terms of providing the same ease within the art environment. And yes, as you said, it is a platform that coincides with my artistic thesis. As a young artist, being on an online art platform like allows me becoming more visible and accessible to the audience.

Ayşe Gürkaş – Anything l

Today there are many opportunities for young and emerging artists such as art competitions and exhibiting platforms where they can show up themselves. What do you think about these competitions and initiatives? 

Yes, there are many remarkable opportunities for young artists like me to exhibit and show up. And this is very motivating. The competitions in Turkey offer great importance for the visibility of a young artists but sometimes within these competitions, it is possible to witness that most appreciated artworks could be an inspiration by somewhere/someone else. But in the end, I think the artworks with the original immanence would permanently stay valuable.

There must be artists who you appreciate or get inspired 🙂 If you were given an unlimited budget today and if you could buy only one artwork within this budget, what/who would you buy?

Hmm, my answer would be a very long list, I guess. In the 50th edition of Artam, an art magazine, I have seen a sculpture by Anish Kapoor that he made in 2016. It was a golden sphere in a water marble. When I saw it, I wanted to be in the same place with it. I wanted it to be the routine of my day. Yes, if I had an unlimited budget, I would definitely buy this ‘Untitled’ golden sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

You are proceeding your education with a master’s degree on painting. Do you plan to continue your career academically? What and where would be the top place for you? What do you dream of?

My intention today is to continue academically, since I would like to deepen my practice theoretically. It seems to be pleasant to convey my practice and knowledge as an instructor as well. But the real definition of my dream is rather to reflect what is completely visible in my mind through my artistic analyzes without compromising my characteristic qualities. And be able to do it globally. I would like to accomplish all this by painting in a studio with high ceilings, and in a rainy environment. I wish, the ultimate phase I would like to reach is something that I cannot even imagine today.


Click for the artist page.

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