Merve İşeri’s solo exhibition “Decaying Melons” will be on view at Krank Art Gallery between the dates of September 7th – October 20th. In need of questioning and enquiring into human nature, the artist makes use of philosophy as her means of investigation, and through various symbols she expresses the relationship she has established with reality with the help of philosophy. Through the four paintings that lay the ground for the exhibition, she reflects on the essential and unavoidable work of our body’s digesting the world and living within it.
Decaying Melons is an ode to personal growth and to being ‘in progress.’ Curated by Nicole O’Rourke, the exhibition is about the simultaneous sweet juiciness and putridity of life, the inevitability of time and its constant self-renewal.
The exhibition is anchored by four paintings; each one depicts unfamiliar bodies, alien in form. They are ethereal, placed in a dreamlike world and yet, the creature figures that Merve paints are decidedly female. The number four is an earthly number: there are four elements, four phases of the moon, four seasons, four cardinal points. Settled within the number four is a logic coupled with a constant and expected predilection for change in, of, to and on the earth and its inhabitants.
Focusing on the human body in her artworks, the artist points to the fact that human beings perceive nature through their own physical bodies. Stowing different fragments of the human body concealed in certain places in her works, the artist aims to emphasize the perfect integrity of the body to remind us human beings –who always feel a lack– of the power we actually possess.
Merve’s figures represent the inner workings of living in a body privy to these earthly changes, unable to avoid the passing of time and events. “Gut” (2018) is a central figure to the exhibition; “Gut” represents the personal voice and instincts that propel emotion and interpersonal relationships and foster and digest change. “Gut” is the most human of all of the figures, a hand its most prominent feature. In all these works, shapes that resemble a constructed script appear as the language of voicelessness. In our quest of discovering our powers, to be able to slow our pace down and become better listeners, she offers us an alternative language.
“Caressing Body,” “Harnessing Body,” and “Growing Body” are renderings of the process of listening to your gut, morphing and learning in all its outer and inner body discomfort and ugliness. “Caressing Body” shows a figure seemingly pulling elements like water and earth inwards towards its body. Its ears are the most pronounced of all the figures: it is listening. “Harnessing Body” depicts a one-eyed figure, the only figure with sight; it is seeing but it’s vision is contained. “Growing Body” has disproportionate limbs, its body facing forward while its head seems to be turned and in motion; it is moving in time, growing and experiencing.
Together the works speak to the essential and unavoidable work of our body’s digesting the world and living within it. And too, to the importance of allowing the ebbs and flows and always staying grounded through self care and environmental and social conscientiousness.
İşeri (b. 1992, Istanbul) is a painter working mostly with oils on an unprimed canvas. She graduated from Politecnico di Milano, Communication Design in 2014, and since then has been living between London and İstanbul. She had a solo exhibition in 2017 in Istanbul with Ballon Rouge Collective titled “her brain is a traveling white bullet”. Since 2015, she has shown her works in group shows in Chicago, USA; Milan, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey and London, UK. Her work has been published in The Financial Times, Harper’s Bazaar Turkey, and Huffington Post, among others.
Nicole O’Rourke is a writer, curator and the founding director of the Ballon Rouge Collective. She has completed her Master’s degree in Art History at Hunter College, New York. O’Rourke has organized a number of exhibitions in Istanbul and New York, and her texts were published in various significant publications, including Art Review, Hyperallergic, Time Out, Near East Magazine, 212 Magazine, Istanbul Art News, and artspace.com among others.