Women Artists from Turkey: Merve Brill

The third installment of women artists featured in A Dream…but not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey showcases another favorite artist of mine, Merve Brill. Born in Istanbul in 1982, Brill currently lives and works in Berlin. Two of her large-scale paintings on fabric, Bicycle and Just Singing, both from 2008, are featured in the exhibition.

Just Singing, 2008 Acrylic on fabric, 135 x 210 cm.

Just Singing is emotionally heavy. A young girl stands in the midst of a dark, never-ending forest, holding a microphone in front of her face. Her body is blurred and translucent and the trees in the background emerge through her dress and skin. The image represents the loss of innocence. The merging of the foreground and background allude to the need for the young woman to find her own way in a complex world.

Bicycle, 2008 Acrylic on fabric, 250 x 135 cm.

Bicycle features the same commercial fabric for the background that is applied in Just Singing, forming a narrative between the two paintings. A lone, blurred bicycle is transposed within the same dark, gloomy forest. The bicycle appears to be moving, or perhaps lying on its side in a pool that reflects the trees back at the viewer. Whatever the case may be, perhaps the bike was the vehicle for the girl’s arrival into the forest. I enjoy Brill’s paintings because of the seemingly unintentional art historical references. Not only does she reference the Dadaists with her use of readymade fabric, but she also incorporates the gloomy undertones of the German Expressionist movement.

Come see Merve Brill’s work on February 12 at the opening of A Dream…But not Yours: Contemporary Art from Turkey.

About the Author- Ali Printz is currently an intern at the Library and Research at NMWA

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