The “Brilliant Waters” From the Brush of Turkish Painter, Leyla Pekmen

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Johannson Projects, Online Exhibition // June 01, 2023 – August 20, 2023

Painter Leyla Pekmen, born 1977 in Izmir, Turkey and now is based in Istanbul, is known for her paintings with vivid color and jubilant narratives inspired by the work of Ottoman miniatures. Full of curiosity, her playful figures move through dreamlike topography based on the natural terrains of Turkey. 

Pekmen utilizes color blocking and pointillism to create framing and texture of nostalgia. Whether rolling in the waves, or sailing across the lake, we are all invited into the landscapes, dropped into her fantastical narratives. Pekmen often embeds supernatural elements that blend fantasy motifs with childhood innocence. There is a tale in every corner and nook, a fresh storyline with each viewing. Her protective and magical lands take on a humanist quality in terms of how our memories and influence impact how we view the physical environments we occupy. Reminiscent of postcards, her paintings’ scenic style capture memory, like a mise-en-scene of joy and adventure.

This exhibition, Brilliant Waters, is the first show of Johansson Projects’ online summer program, and includes paintings made with acrylic on canvas which revolve around storytelling. It will be online through August 20, 2023 while Johansson Projects’ brick and mortar gallery undergoes a seismic retrofit. The gallery will reopen in the fall of 2023.

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