By Jacob Hicks
Buket Savci is a Brooklyn-based figurative painter. Her first solo-show, “Playground,” is opening November 4th at Olcay Art in Istanbul, Turkey. What follows is a formal and conceptual analysis of her work.
Savci’s large-scale paintings feature breathing and fleshy figurative tumblings of intimacy, tension, and play. These pieces are photo-realistic psychologies; one can become lost in the mass of close-cropped human mazes, desiring to know how disembodied clusters of extremities (teasing confusions of arm or leg ownership) can appear simultaneously so intimate and yet so jarring. Piles of patterned covers, comforters, pillows, and sheets dissect forms further; an especially rich amount of painted delicacy is apparent in the textiles. No intimate detail is left ill-considered; each nook and corner invites, singing a visual ode to Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space.
Passion, whether love or play, is to divest from self and move into other. It is to extend beyond the internal and to momentarily co-mingle. The way the artist stages her scenes, which are based on an initial photograph, is a reflection of the fight for the preservation of passing intimacy. Savci’s formal skills as a painter successfully breath warmth and life in translation from photographic source material to canvas. This is key to the success of the work; though she is following in the historical tradition of photo-realism, she is also enlivening the “flat eye” of the machine with the purposely indiscreet warmth of painterly addition and decision. Here a mechanism’s perception is consecrated by an experiential nostalgia. It is important to remember nostalgia is an edited, abbreviated, and modified construction of chosen reality, but I feel that in Savci’s case, the romanticism and fiction of the image is the purpose-an ideal to seek and dream of and in. Her authoritative and gentle handle of color, form, and tone transforms a cold mechanical image into one that is a human and burning dream.
From time to time oddities of color pop up; a man holds a green and white striped popsicle (phallic in nature), or a woman a rainbow lollipop. A fish balloon, smiling, floats over the scene; these elements are enforcers of the length to which Savci is willing to push a continuation of treasured moments. The hot fever dream of passion and joy become her “playground,” of which she cleverly identifies in the title of her exhibition.
As Buket’s studio-mate, it has been a pleasure to watch her artistic development and perseverance. Her work speaks softly but authoritatively, and this is an exhibition not to be missed.