“ NOTES on the CIRCLE of Life “, the 2021 Autumn exhibition of Claire Arkas, who focuses on the rich visuality offered by nature and reflecting the unity of light, colour and motion in her works, was presented to art lovers at IMOGA Art Space. The artist’s emphasis on nature and her works which prioritize nature’s magnificence were displayed in her 6th solo exhibition in Istanbul.
Claire Arkas is an artist who makes a point of the rich visuality of nature in her works. For this reason, nature is an important element which grants meaning to life and gives Claire Arkas hope. The leaves gently swaying in the blue expanse of the sky, the pools shaded by palm trees, the landscapes extending behind the greenery in descriptions of urban texture in Istanbul present the artist’s emphasis on nature, while reflecting her priority on the magnificence of nature. The range of subjects in Claire Arkas’ ” NOTES on the CIRCLE of Life ” series spans from Istanbul scenes to gardens, fragments of nature, beach scenes which reflect the unity between human beings and nature, architectural works which impressed Arkas in her travels, as well as indoor views and figures from her living areas.
The artist’s works with the themes “A View of Istanbul from Çamlıca Hill” and ” View of the bridge from theFatih Grove in Autumn” manage to transform the mega city’s inherent speed and dynamism into visual representations of Istanbul landscapes in panoramic views.
The artist’s views on nature are embodied through reflections from her inner world in abstractive, wholistic and rich brush strokes. Her work titled “Strelitzias, everywhere“ conveys the natural rhythm, energy and the whistling wind in the motion of the leaves which the artist frames in a close-up.
The vibrations between light and colour, reflections, and refraction of light on the water surface, which Claire Arkas specifically addresses in her “Pool” themed works, appear in her works ” Reflection from Çiftlikköy, Kalamarya” and “Reflection from Kalamarya on the Summer Table” this time. The light of the lamps illuminating the place is set in motion on the water in the dark of the night. With the shivering shadows of figures reflecting the motion in the stillness through momentary changes in light reflections, the artist emphasizes the momentary, the inconstant.
Arkas says, “I love lines, that’s why I am drawnto architecture.” We see the importance she attaches on patterns in the painstaking attention she exercises while drawing streets, and the facades and interiors of historical monuments. After forming her work on location with lead pencil, the artist uses watercolour, pastel, charcoal pencil, or gouache -or a combination of some- to color her drawing, but while keeping the lines, which she regards as “the memory of the picture” on her work.
The painting “Sunset” is another work of Claire Arkas which deserves special emphasis. Horizontal and vertical orientations divide the composition into its own sections. The first glance is looking outward from inside the place. However, later, we see that the artist ignored the depth and brought the inside and outside together on the same plane. Spaces intertwined with reflections evolve into a superficial-abstractive expression. A similar pursuit for expression is also observed in Arkas’ work titled ” Dining Hall Behind Glass and Reflections of Art”.
The artist’s self-portrait stands out in her figure compositions. In “Portrait of a Tenacious Woman in the Studio” there is a painter who is happy with her work in her workshop which is her safe space. The “Portrait of a Woman with Yearning” gives clues about the model’s inner world. The young woman’s gaze is pensive and thoughtful. Her “Surrendering” is also a work with a psychological dimension. Here, the artist attributes a symbolic meaning to the mask. The painting points to a young woman’s emotional state when she throws the mask, which needs to be worn against the social environment, and is left bare alone.
Claire Arkas’ exhibition ” NOTES on the CIRCLE of Life ” welcomed great attention between October 23rd and November 13th, 2021 at IMOGA Art Space in Kuzguncuk.