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(1971, Ankara)

Bom in Ankara-TURKEY in 1971. In 1994, she graduated from Painting Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Hacettepe University, from the studio of Prof. Dr. M. Zahit Buyukisleyen with first rank.

She worked as an illustrator.graphic designer and art consultant in different private associations and establishments. She participated in many group exhibitions and many paintings in private collections in the world wide.

She is a member of International Fine Arts Association and United Painters and Sculptures Association. Sule Qzbahar is continuing with her work in her own studio in Ankara.




1999 Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi, Ankara

2000 Piano & Piano Sanat Galerisi, Ankara

2001 Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Galerisi, Ankara

2001 Picante, Bodrum

2002 Valör Sanat Galerisi, Ankara

2003 Bu-De Sanat Galerisi, Ankara

2003 3. Ankara Sanat Fuarı (ANKART), Ankara

2003 13. İstanbul sanat fuarı (TUYAP), istanbul

2004 Tara Sanat galerisi - Ankara

2005 5. Ankara Sanat Fuarı (ANKART), Ankara

2005 15. İstanbul Sanat Fuarı (TUYAP), İstanbul

2006 6. Ankara Sanat Fuarı (ANKART), Ankara

2006 Intel Art Gallery, Svvindon/ ingiltere

2006 Contemporary Art Fair (Arda Sanat Galerisi), İstanbul

2007 Ege Üni. K.K.M. Sanat Galerisi, İzmir

2007 Aysel Gözübüyük Sanat Evi, Ankara

2007 Art istanbul Sanat Fuarı, istanbul

2008 Anka Art, istanbul

2010 10. Ankara Sanat Fuarı (ANKART), Ankara


On  Şule  Özbahar  Paintings


Barnett Newman once said that the scope of art is either vision or illumination.




Modern Logic considers symbol as conventional sign: it shows something else in order to tell something; it makes an idea, a thought visible. Translation of symbol as s-im-ge into Turkish and its sounding close to im (sign) supports the idea given above: the process of de-sign starts from sign, thus it designates the signified. This means that sign is an equipment, whose character consists in showing or indicating something. However, understanding art in such a relation of indication, thinking of it as a visualization of a concept or an idea ends in equating art with design, thinking of the artwork as an "in-order-to".


Moreover, such a design that is inclined towards meaning and concept rather than function needs the aid of words, which are true conventional signs of concepts: the work achieves artwork title only if it is explained by words; such as the slogans on announcements, the work needs a name and an explanation, through which its meaning is exposed. The reason for such a necessity of explanation with words is as follows: the universal achieves visibility only within the singular: showing the universal without descending to the singular is impossible both in nature and imagination.


The transition from visible to conceptual falls under the scope of allegory, rather than the symbol. Thus, allegory (allos + agoreuein: to speak differently in public) in its original usage was a rhetorical instrument belonging to the sphere of logos (word): in allegory, instead of what is actually meant, something else is said, but in such a way that the former is understood. Mallarme puts that this is the representation of ideas and concepts specified beforehand. Nevertheless, reason (logos) works in accordance with logical rules and according to Dionysius Aeropagite, the reason, which equates the existence with sensible, needs to proceed symbolically in order to grasp the non-sensible.


Psychology is another field in which the symbol is granted meaning: herein the symbol is simply signals, which reduces them to the level of conditioned reflexes, of automatic gestures. And then comes the invention of subconscious, which is deemed as the source of signals. Behemoth, the giant monster of William Blake, refers to the vast power of subconscious which is imprisoned within the misty walls of the world of reason. So, like Homer's Proteus - whom he calls as "the old man of the sea who knows no lies" -, the subconscious remains hidden in the depths telling the "truth" to whom is able to catch it. While his daughters, the beautiful Nereid's swirl at the surface. Therefore follows an attraction for the abyss whose bait is beauty, a kind of bewitching Sphinx causing to forget everything else. However, this forgetfulness might cause one to shatter himself in the rocky reefs, just like the ones falling under the spell of the Sirens' song, swept to the realm of dreams. Forgetfulness is the defining characteristic of our way of understating art. Thus, to psychoanalysis, the conscious remains prisoner of the subconscious, which, if understood as a natural phenomenon, can always be the object of scientific inquiry. Hence the modern delusion of seeing art as expressing the fantasies and dreams, themselves the activity of a deep convolution of twists and turns. Accordingly, oneirism at best covers these dreams, if not the hallucinations. On the other hand, dreams might be about a home long lost or even forgotten. Yet, Odysseus, being detained by Calypso (from kalyptein, meaning covering or hiding), does not forget he is homeless and that he is trying to return home. According to Heidegger, "... homelessness consists in the abandonment of beings by being. Homelessness is the symptom of the oblivion of being. Because of it the truth of being remains unthought." In the opening verses of Masnavi, Rumi writes "He who abides far away from his home, is ever longing for the day he shall return".


‘Separation", "secession" and "falling apart" are themes that stand at the etymological base of symbol (sym+ballein: to throw together) and make it easier to be understood. In the Ancient Greece, a simple object, such as a stick, a ring or a ceramic plate, was to be broken into two pieces and given to two persons as a sign of agreement; those pieces were called symbol (symbolon). If descendants of either side, in the future, were to present this sign to the other side, it was accepted as a sign of agreement and link between the two families that would last for generations. The main idea is that the presentation of the symbol is not only the indicator of the agreement and the symbol does not represent the previous agreement; rather it holds the agreement valid and real. In this respect, the symbol is not a sign that wouldn't hold any effect on the being it indicates; rather it complements the word, it makes which was not visible beforehand -agreement, promise- visible as the two symbols come together. That is to say, the symbol is not limited to the sphere of logos, for a symbol is not related by its meaning to another meaning, but its own sensory existence has meaning.


In the Symposium Plato uses the term symbolon in the famous discourse of Aristophanes. According to him, man was first created as an androgynous being: rounded, with four legs, four arms and two faces. Angry at the pride and ambition that was driving him to pave a road to the sky, Zeus divided him in two halves in such a way that one would always try to merge with the other, since "each one is a half, a countersign (symbolon) of a single person ... each one seeks his own countersign (symbolon)."


Unexpectedly, this meaning carries an erotic (related to Eros) connotation. As it originates from the split of a single being, such dividedness involves an awareness of and a tendency to reunification. Therefore, above all, the symbol is a state; an intermediate state resulting from division. In this gap between two, love (Eros) beams a luminous aura which is their essence: a fire that animates, the soul (psyche), which is the beauty itself. Yet, according to Apuleius, after Eros leaves his dear wife Psyche, she wanders the earth in confusion in a quest for her lost love. But further, in Symposium, Diotima says to Socrates that beauty does not belong to a single body; rather all bodies participate in it, they are its reflections. The whole belonging to an original body, the convergence of sensible and non-sensible, finite and infinite, is the real essence of symbol, the dividing of what is one and reuniting it again.




We know the fairy as a supernatural being in varying names and shapes almost in every part of the world, within the folk lore and legends. They are thought to be somewhere between gods and men, both conceptually and physically. They are mostly related to a natural location, such as a forest, a river; or an artificial place such as a bridge, a hut. Nevertheless, they have their own dimension of existence, since men cannot see them, despite them sharing the same location. On the other hand, being so close to men, they are able to enter into close interaction, unlike other supernatural beings such as angels. Thus, the fairy is like the reflection of human nature in the spiritual dimension. Therefore, their relation with men is elusive -just like man's relation with his own- according to the legends in different cultures. For instance, Naga's and Yakshini's in the Hindu culture have double characters: on one hand, they are harmless nature spirits and wardens of the locations; while on the other hand, they are terrifying creatures, which, in the case of Naga's, torment the humans with floods or draughts.


In Iranian legends - which are the root of the word Peri (fairy, from parika in Avesta language, meaning witch) - fairies turn into darker beings, considered as angels being cast out from heavens, seeking forgiveness through redemption. Mostly depicted as beautiful and seductive women, they seduce men towards insanity. However, in Islamic period, the fairies transform into elegant and benevolent creatures that visit mortals and reward the good.


In Europe, the fairies are rooted in the animist beliefs of pre-Christianity period. They were, before, worshipped as spirits of the nature, however after the Christianity took hold, they were deemed by the church as aides of the Satan, baby stealers, and bringers of tuberclosis, insanity and even death. However, this was soon forgotten and particularly since the 16th century, they began to appear as magical and cute little beings with their fluffy wings in the literature, art and popular culture.


In the Western languages, the word fairy comes from the name of the three sisters (fatum) in the Roman mythology, which determine the fate of humans. And the word fatum comes from fari, being Latin for speaking. However, this is not an ordinary speech, it is not speech of the logos; rather it is a style of speaking that prophesies, that uncovers the future in a moment of ecstasy. Accordingly, being related to the fate of men and complementing his missing part - his knowledge regarding future -, is hidden in the nature of fairy.




All those told above, constitutes the background for understanding the works of Şule Özbahar. We are living in a world of multiplicity in which things are separated with sharp lines. On the other hand, symbol, understood as the real essence of multiplicity and dividedness, is exposed in many facets of one image: the images which make up on the surface the figures, the thin border lines that prevent the disappearance of shapes in the void. But where does the edge begin, and where does it end? How deep is its sharpness and distinctiveness? It is catastrophic for the form: beyond a certain point, is there no longer any form? Or is it a zone where a vibration between forms persists, an area of interaction where limited and unlimited interpenetrates? The answer to these questions may decide the destiny of an artist's work. Şule Özbahar's answer, however, favours both solutions: the reunion of the divided contains the harmony of interpenetration, as well as the tension of secession.


Şule Özbahar's works uncover, expose, and therefore explain this kind of reunion, hierogamy (holy marriage): the mysterious uniting of matter and spirit, body and soul in an imaginal space, in such a way that suggests the union of Jung's concepts anima and animus in Hermaphrodite, were these not confined within the dual logics. That is to say, the reunion of the one which was shattered by logos, the reunion of artist's internal and external reality. ["The deeper layers of the psyche," Jung has said, "lose their individual uniqueness as they retreat farther and farther into darkness." Lower down, that is to say, as they approach the autonomous functional systems, they become increasingly collective until they are universalized and extinguished in the body's materiality, i.e. in chemical substance. An element of the body, like carbon, is simply carbon. Hence at bottom the psyche is simply world.] Those which were multiplicity beforehand, which seemed separate, interpenetrate in this union, and it becomes the image of all facets. Thus, the symbol, due to its dividedness, is the distorted reflection of the one; nevertheless, the one can only make itself visible in the echo of the forms.


Amidst the echo that vibrates in the void, takes place the holy marriage of the natural and supernatural, the forgetting one and the forgotten, the man and the fairy. This is the double movement of the soul, that of the fall towards shattering and that of the ascension towards enlightenment. This last concept corresponds to a more elevated, sacred or hieratic idea of art: the idea that gives access to something lying beyond dreams and even imagination.


Ankara 2011