Biocosms: Reaching for the Big Bang
By Tom Wachunas
“Ultimately based on the promise of circles of life, of night and day, of birth and death, changing of the seasons, resurrection and renewal, my spirit seeks for simplicity. I go back in time and reach for the big bang of all the creation. I seek to touch the origins, the sources, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the elusive spark, that essence of creation that is ever evasive, yet forever wondrous.”- Isin Sezer
EXHIBIT: Paintings by Isin Sezer, at Studio M in the Massillon Museum, THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2016 / 121 Lincoln Way East, downtown Massillon / 330-833-4061 / www.massillonmuseum.org
Among the most vexing things I’ve ever been called upon to write is the so-called Artist Statement. For as much as I truly savor words well written, the very idea of explaining my visual art – as a matter of philosophy, process and/or product – has always felt, ironically and exasperatingly enough, antithetical to the purpose of making the artwork in the first place. The art world is rich with writings that can leave readers/viewers perplexed by arcane artspeak or otherwise codified nonsense. Shouldn’t the point of an artist’s statement be to open, rather than numb, the imagination of the beholder?
Isin Sezer’s statement, excerpted at the top of this post, is anything but numbing. It offers some fascinating inroads to interpreting the visual language of her paintings, to appreciating the potentiality of words to affect our curiosity.
Sezer’s iconographic content indicates a reverence for biology. The imagery is mimetic of living things or processes on a minute, cellular plane. These painterly acrylic renderings are deftly choreographed so that amorphous shapes and membranous structures appear to both quietly levitate and actively dance to the music, as it were, of a rhythmic, often electrifying color dynamic. The delicate layers of glazed underpainting delineate ghostly recapitulations of the foreground components, effectively adding a palpable depth, and with it a sense of mystery.
And in as much as Sezer’s beautiful paintings tend to articulate (and in some cases perhaps literally illustrate) scientific particularities, it seems to me that those particularities nonetheless harmonize with the overall spirituality suggested by the words of her statement. Her paintings, though modest in physical scale, are transportive to the extent that they’re metaphors for much larger, even infinite things - things like the Big Bang, and the ensuing expansion of the complex universe, at once hypnotically luminous and dark.
In one way, Sezer’s aesthetic brings me back to a painting teacher from my college days. On the first day of class, he wondered out loud why any marginally intelligent person would want to enter a life of painting, which he considered to be an “unreasonable” pursuit. I took his words to be a challenge, not an insult. At that moment I understood once and for all that the best painters are in fact pursuers of reasoned unreasonableness, purveyors of timeless mysteries.
In another way, Sezer’s paintings bring me back to Genesis: “In the beginning…,” and “Let there be…” They remind me that, like life itself, every painting has a beginning - a singular mark willed into existence, an initial gesture made across an empty expanse. Nothing becomes something. The arrival of light, of an idea,…the painter’s big bang. After that, it’s always a matter of expansion.
In her pursuit of “the elusive spark, that essence of creation,” Isin Sezer has indeed engaged a gloriously unreasonable desire to make that spark tangible. In the process, she offers us enthralling echoes.
PHOTOS, from top: Duodenum villi / Untitled / Untitled / Suspended / Xanthoria parientina / Immune (l. to r., 1, 2, 3)