Reyhan Gulses Demircioglu is a contemporary fine artist born in Istanbul, currently residing in Santa Monica, CA. Her upbringing had a profound impact on her artistic curiosity. Her father is a mural artist and antique restorer, and her brother is also a fine artist. Growing up in an artistic environment allowed her to explore her own talents from a very young age.
She first displayed her talent in realistic figure drawings at the age of four. Even though she dedicated most of her youth to competitive gymnastics, she was accepted into University with a full scholarship to study art. She completed her BFA and MFA in Graphic Design, and worked as a freelance illustrator and University research assistant for a few years. Eventually, her innate artistic desire led her to print making which deeply transformed her artistic mind. She later went on to get her PhD in the Fine Arts in Painting at Yeditepe University in Istanbul.
Reyhan’s art is often inspired by her own personal experiences and perceptions. Her background in art and elite gymnastics triggered the idea for her PhD thesis, titled “Body Language and Gesturality in the Art of Painting from Yves Klein to Today”. Her thesis explored the contribution of the body’s capabilities and limits on canvas since Neo-Avangards, while also reflecting on gender issues and cultural relativity.
After finishing her PhD she focused her work on oil on canvas and started her series “Timeless Times''. The series, inspired by her observations and emotional states, focuses on subjects like human nature, perception of time and reality, psychology, and identities. The pieces display centered black and white figures, containing a strong sense of realism, and blend them with abstract forms throughout the composition. The combination is symbolic of our own relative perception.
The emotion and thoughts behind these works of art are influenced by Reyhan’s personal experiences and observations. They can be read in both formal and iconographic ways. The artist believes that her paintings are just like life itself- in which we perceive according to our mood in different times. She comments on her series, saying “We all see and live approximately the same things, but never record the same feelings for them. Perceptions and reactions to life in (or with) reference to our own way of response are just like black and white reality in a colorful world. Even though the paintings identify with life in a symbolic way, they are not narratives, and do not aim to tell a story. They just show the emotional state of the figures”.
Reyhan incorporates the theme of “time" in her paintings as another relativistic notion, which plays a role in the senses. She explores the concept that there is no distance between past, present and future when thinking. The past seems close, the future seems present, and we can feel far from the present. These ideas about how time is perceived in the mind are metaphorically conceptualized in her paintings. In alignment with these concepts, the artist does not intend to create a dimensional atmosphere.
The most important characteristic in these paintings is color. Its seemingly random usage contributes to the themes of the composition. Cold colors are juxtaposed with warm, and placement varies between the forefront and behind the figures. These elements intentionally distort the perspective and contribute to the symbolic nature of these works. Reyhan notes that everything blends into each other as our mind does, and the overall picture of the works of art represents the figure's frame of mind in a selected time.
The expressions of these virtual humans cohere with the aura of the painting. They are highlighted within the fine details through lines, stripes, splashes, and pigments (stains) applied throughout the painting, and the abstract forms created with different textures and thicknesses of paint, stand out in some places, while blending in others.
Thanks to this visual richness, each oil painting exhibits a similar characteristic while at the same time revealing the originality of their own naturalness.