Power Causes Monsters
Istanbul Concept Gallery
Sema Maskili’s art is inescapable. An artist whose work forces peak contemplation by distorting ‘old masters’ beauty. After years of dedicated study, from Theodore Gericault and Francisco Goya to Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, Maskili is driving home the gruesome effects of abusive, engorged power in an unmistakable style. Five previous solo exhibitions (2006-2017) stand as a testament to her purpose.
In the current exhibition, Power Causes Monsters, the artist execrates the glorification of aggression in its myriad manifestations. In “Silenced”, we see the prolonged agony of denial; in “Last Remaining Green” the Rorschach of a choreographed gang; and in “Mob Psychology” a trampling herd of uninformed conformity. These are bodies battling mental anguish and cultural contempt. With a few strokes of a brush, we see just how quickly a healthy, vibrant human can become a quivering mass of meat. Heads are replaced with wild abstraction while muscular prowess rails against torpidly abused flesh. Gray green loathing, citric orange regret and pale-yellow deprivation impinges sweet newborn pinks like sorrow upon a naive heart. Whether seen individually or together, this vision traces the thrashing body lines paralleling the threads of repressed pain. The effect is an almost rabid lyricism lassoing our insatiable need to recognize ourselves.
Through intense analysis, Sema Maskili strengthens our resolve to see how the formidable beauty of intelligent compassion is being twisted, by our very own human nature, into a power that can make monsters of us all. The act of not looking away is an overtone of Truth.
Debra Lapatina, Artist