Semra Ecer : Finding Beauty Within the Balance
Semra Ecer : Finding Beauty Within the Balance
The first thing one notices about Ecer’s works is the richness of their material, and the second, the wealth of styles and aesthetics; specifically the blurring of Abstract and Figurative influences. In the case of “Dynamism” it is the peculiarly archaic character of her dynamic figures. Ecer utilizes her talent as a sculptor and experience as a painter to create a new perspective on the classic portrait as a vehicle to explore form, and shape. Ecer’s work ranges from very basic items with well-defined functions such as spoons and bookmarks to recurring sculptures in both figurative and abstract forms. Ecer has become renowned in the modern art and design world for her groundbreaking fusion of minimalist, romantic, and poetic jewelry comprised of precious metals. Her more recent work represents a new phase of artistic expression within this medium, as she explores themes of identity, movement, form and biography.
Each of her new sculpture is in one way or another autobiographical, addressing the issue of self through symbolism to express her own ideology, this is an ideology closely related to her native Turkey. Bronze reliefs of Istanbul also find a home in this body of work, highlighting the fact Istanbul is her main source of inspiration. Her extensive artistic background is clearly an influence on her abilities “Studying painting has given me a certain confidence of trying to create new forms of art, especially forms in three-dimension which I have always found to be more inspiring than mere drawing” says the artist and designer. Ecer studied under Ozdemir Altan at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, launching her own business during her studies, producing unique stained-glass designs. “Prof painter Ozdemir Altan has given me certain confidence and guidance in arts. He used to teach about polyphonic classical music and the importance of rhythm, dynamism and color. I find this intersection very interesting and try to introduce rhythm into my work” the artists has says of her time spent under his tuition. Inspired by artists such as the great Italian futurist Giacomo Balla, Ecer has engaged in designing jewelry and objects, and making sculptures, each adding new dimensions to her artistic expression. Recently, she exhibited her interpretation of Istanbul in the form of bronze reliefs while maintaining her owns Arkaik Art Jewelry and a design showroom in Istanbul.
Ecer’s explains focus and interest in both the fine arts and decorative arts: “Although I have worked with different materials, everything I have given shape to, be it a small piece of jewelry or a statuette, follows a certain sequence giving birth to one another as if they are the images formed by a spherical mirror magnifying a new perspective of the original one every time”. What results are gripping images rife with human emotion; complex human figures are configured in forms of pure expressionism; at times ironic and other times fearlessly exposing the rawest elements of the human experience.
A wide variety of artistic invention greets viewers of Ecer’s work with classic, expressive, and highly stylized sculptures jewels and objects that are fashioned after the spirit and forms found in both humanity and nature. A breadth of emotion from its highest peak to deepest realm is explored in figures and geometric forms that create striking sculptures within the “New Reflections” that speak to temporality, fragility, and the balance between the two. Displayed as a flock of birds, flying harmoniously together; the largest of the bird sculptures “Eternity” transmits an energy toward the viewer evoking a sense of everlasting grace; the middle sized sculpture “freedom” a sense of liberty; the smallest ones “new reflections” are each an accumulation of her mind. Her inspiration is “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” These are eternity and freedom that lie within her mind and that materialize with her energy. In “New Reflections” the dynamic relationship between the forms is emphasized by the intensive outlines and flat unmixed color forms. Bright passages of form are formed in seemingly spontaneous directions. However in actuality Ecer plans her compositions very deliberately according to formal principles, the work creates a type of visual sound through patches of lines and form—the work is made to listen to. Even in her more abstract works the figure is not amorphous or formless. The images are just fragments extracted from their figurative context. Ecer uses line, not so much as a means of representation, but in a more abstract way, to express feelings and moods; retaining the notion that the artist role is to suggest, not define. The process of sculpture is an intensive almost performative act for the artist.
The sharp lines and angles of the metal add to this tension, the cleanliness of the medium muddied only by the fleeting nature of perspective. While shapes are distinctive and defined up close, when viewed at a distance, the mood is softened as marked lines change to curves and the overall effect becomes blurred. This speaks to greater truths involving the myth of stability, the persistence of transition, and the ever present metamorphoses we as humans undergo in every moment. In this way, Ecer’s work centers on the phenomenon of how people and raw emotion are intertwined in everyday life. Pushing past surface expressionist influences, the artist/designer arrives at a virtuoso moment, impulsive yet wise, untamed yet controlled. Like nature’s force itself, her skill and instinct resonate with the power and subtlety of the unexplainable.
Among the greatest legends of blues singers ever Howlin’ Wolf sang a song you might have heard called “Spoonful”. This is the first thing that strikes me in Semra Ecer’s NYC exhibition. She’s made silver spoons with different forms at the ends of their holding parts. The awe-inspiring Howling Wolf says it all:
“It could be a spoonful of diamonds. Could be a spoonful of gold. Just a little spoon of your precious love. Satisfies my soul…Some of them dies about that. Some of them cries about that. But everything fight about that spoonful. That spoon, that spoon, that spoonful. It could be a spoonful of water. Saved from the deserts sand.But one spoon of them fortifies. Save you from another man…
Ecer’s exhibition is really based on one sculpture titled “Freedom”. She lets us know this is our primary concern here by multiplying the bird that is on the culmination of flying -flying high- in smaller and smaller forms and formats such as sculptures with a group of birds and the small and even tiny little bronze brooches. This bird is an absolute epitome of freedom indeed as we feel our feet taking a ballerina-like shape as if we could almost fly –while of course not moving- viewing and mimicking this dignified, exquisite and comely creature which spontaneously represents our being human with its delicate, fragile, vulnerable and artistic stance. We immediately identify with it; it’s our longing and yearning to be happy, we instinctively understand that we have to let all identifications go to taste freedom actually, to be happiness, rather than just be happy.
Semra Ecer is technically and academically a painter and we have one of her paintings in the exhibition in which the artist depicts a most musical, sensitive, graceful background as the conductor to the 3D orchestra. Ecer became infatuated and soon after inflated with the idea of making 3D sculptures and objects. Some of her objects although she thinks of them mostly as functional such as the silver spoons and the bookmarks, are saturated with timeless associations through philosophical sources that would have to take away the “functionality’ part of the equation and list them in the category of sculpture really. The bookmarks, like each of her other objects, hold such intimacy that our first concern may be to loose this.
So what does this say about the bookmarks? Well, they are intimate objects I think, very intimate objects that once you have selected carefully and purchased one, I suppose you’d be likely to keep it in your dear, dear book by your bedside, or the like, and indeed take joy in touching it, placing and re-placing it, and touching it some more to discover all parts and stroking it, if time allows in between.
Ecer made some other sculpture-objects that are also to be played with. These are sculptures that can be placed and re-placed intertwining into each other in different ways so the viewer is interacting with the objects and surely when these beauties find their home they’ll keep changing form all the time.
Last but most certainly not least are the objects made for the feminine. These rings especially, and necklaces too, are so affectionate, warm, intrinsic, so intimate that they are totally compatible to make gracious confidants. These shapes innovated by the artist, these amazing shapes, which feel that they take yet other shapes once they’re on the fingers of a female and/or she-male, are truly luxurious not only in their materials –silver, gold, bronze, diamonds and other precious stones- but more so in their shapes. It is not exaggerating to say for me that one of those rings can make a real friend ‘girl’, or a most unusual ring to make a proposal of a lifetime –hopefully.
The success of the first Solo exhibition Semra Ecer held in NYC is evident in her receiving few commissioned works, a collaboration proposal and the emerging of a sponsor for her next project. Ecer also left many of her works here in NYC in some distinct jewelry stores. Ecer’s next project among many delicasys, also includes Chocolates! Yum, we’ll see to making that happen in NYC as well.