Artist
Samuray Akarvardar Palo Alto, California

Originally from Istanbul, Samuray Arkvardar began taking art classes as a teenager in the basement of the local art museum. She was also very studious, and instead of pursuing her art immediately, she became an engineer and received a PhD in geophysics. “While working, I continued art classes wherever I could find time, visited galleries, and read about art,” says Samuray. In 2010, she finally decided to focus on making art full time. Samuray began taking art classes in California and further developed her contemporary style. Her figurative work is concerned with portraying the psyche through interpretations of portraiture. Using collage materials, including transparent acrylic sheets, Samuray aims to convey the complex layers of modern human existence.

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    About The Artist

    Originally from Istanbul, Samuray Arkvardar began taking art classes as a teenager in the basement of the local art museum. She was also very studious, and instead of pursuing her art immediately, she became an engineer and received a PhD in geophysics. “While working, I continued art classes wherever I could find time, visited galleries, and read about art,” says Samuray. In 2010, she finally decided to focus on making art full time. Samuray began taking art classes in California and further developed her contemporary style. Her figurative work is concerned with portraying the psyche through interpretations of portraiture. Using collage materials, including transparent acrylic sheets, Samuray aims to convey the complex layers of modern human existence.

    Artist Statement

    I am a figurative expressionist. In my paintings, I explore the complexities of human nature, try to find and create beauty from complicated feelings. The story of my paintings is hidden in the process of making them like, how I choose the subject matter, how I design the stand of the figure, which materials I use, how I use them in the context and so on. This whole process helps me organize my feelings; settle my thoughts and resolve my conflicts. The result is a series of works, a platform where the viewer is invited to find something about life, about people and consequently about herself/himself.

    I have always been fascinated by the stories of the people. I like to read interviews in the newspapers/magazines that end with a direct and silent photo of the person in question. As a figurative artist, I am interested in such images as a piece of human drama.

    Paper is the basic material of my paintings. I like the simple, vulnerable, “recycling” nature of paper. I start with various layers of dry and wet media and continue with collage which helps me create alternative paint surfaces. My favorite collage materials are sticker frames, storage box frames, fabrics with pattern, tissue paper, clear vinyl and clear acrylic sheets. These collage materials, shaped into analytic and chaotic forms, create contrasts in fluidity, texture, depth and reality. I am open to use or even look for e.g. unwanted paint stains, materials with broken edges or torn-up papers. Such traces of “damage” and “aging” find a place in my figuration.

    As a figurative artist, my understanding of "portraiture" is based on works by Alberto Giacometti, Richard Avedon, Frida Kahlo, Marlene Dumas, Francis Bacon, Hans Holbein, El Greco etc. I also admire the visual language in the works of Willem de Kooning, Georg Baselitz, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Anselm Kiefer, Kiki Smith and Antony Gormley, etc.

    Some may find strange but some writers (more than film directors) influence my artwork too, like Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, Doris Lessing, Patricia Highsmith, Mario Vargas Llosa, Virginia Woolf and etc. I feel close to the characters and worlds created in their books.

    Artist Background

    Istanbul Technical University
    Doctor of Philosophy, 2006

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