iRFAN ÖNÜRMEN


New York, NY (January 30, 2014) – C24 Gallery is pleased to announce the second North American solo exhibition by İrfan Önürmen, on view from March 4 - April 26, 2014. This exhibition is a continuation of C24 Gallery’s program of promoting and representing international contemporary artists working across all mediums. 

The exhibition will feature never before seen canvas oil paintings; tulle portraits, a continuation of the artist’s “Gaze” series presented by C24 Gallery in 2012. Also exhibited will be a series of 18 tulle panels based on found images—gleaned from Instagram. Önürmen continues in his signature style: stripping his subject down to its fundamental shapes and forms, and then configuring it into something new—an image that serves to mirror our contemporary identities. 

Önürmen creates delicate reliefs using cut layers of tulle. The layering accentuates the mercurial nature of the fabric and gives each work a mosaic-like quality. His process creates unexpected areas of visual encounter within the works. Entranced, the viewer is able to connect with what lies beyond their first view. The viewer is forced to slow down and process the image. His paintings, large in scale, have a similar effect. The artist meticulously adds brushstroke upon brushstroke, insinuating the unrealized profoundness of his found subjects. 

The 18 panel Instagram series will be installed on the gallery’s 22’ atrium wall. The tulle panels will be gridded, reminiscent of an actual Instagram feed. Technology such as Instagram, where billions of images have been shared, allows Önürmen to collect anonymous images en masse. He then uses these images to create portraits that appear familiar to all, if only because of their persistent presence in our collective unconscious, fed by our daily habit of consuming the large amounts of images we encounter daily. By doing this, the artist creates a social X-ray, researching the surface of the image and inviting the viewer to look inside. He is interested not in the viewer’s passive relationship with the work, but in the viewer’s physical presence beside it. His priority is never the stories of the figures in his works, but in their relationship with the viewer, achieved using his signature relief style.

Önürmen’s recent works often reference the pixelated images we see on our computers and cell phones; only this time the images have been meticulously constructed and reference not one but a multitude of subjects and events. There are no formal boundaries in his work, instead he is constructing a portrait that goes beyond the flat picture plane, creating shadows and shapes that elicit a new way of looking at the portrait as a response to the way images are treated today. The complex layering of material in Önürmen’s studies also references the chaotic and claustrophobic experience of living in contemporary society, specifically the city. 

İrfan Önürmen’s practice, diverse in terms of form, language and representative content, can be approached beyond a ‘stylistic’ foundation through the effect it creates. This is because the effect of Önürmen’s art emerges not on the surface or its periphery, but within the unique experience of the encounter with it. Whichever concept or material he uses, Önürmen, in his universe composed of reality and imagination and the visible and the invisible, blurs formal categories.

About İrfan Önürmen: 
İrfan Önürmen was born in Bursa, Turkey, in 1958. Önürmen has exhibited extensively throughout Turkey and in Europe, including the Istanbul Biennial,Turkey; Museuo Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Polignano a Mare, Italy; Akadamie Der Kunste, Berlin, Germany; Kulturdezernat der Stadt, Frankfurt, Germany, and others. Önürmen lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. His work is also in the permanent collection of Istanbul Modern Museum of Art, as well as in many private collections including the collection of Leon Black. He has also been featured in art fairs such as Pulse New York and Pulse Miami, 2013, The Armory Show in 2012, Contemporary Istanbul, 2012 and 2013, and Art MRKT Hamptons Art Fair, 2012 as well as in auctions in the US and globally.

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