Oil painting titled Find yourself in its hidden depth.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
UAE based contemporary artist Gulden Oguz has been living and working in Dubai since 2012. Born and raised in Germany, she has a Turkish background.
She is inspired by mysticism and Rumi, the 13th-century poet and Sufi mystic and as an artist, she tries to present the material world (she was once a marketing professional) through the wider lens of visionary awareness.
“Over the centuries,” says Courtney Ann Stewart, Researcher and Lecturer in Islamic Art History at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, “the spiritual beliefs, rituals, and practices of Sufis (mystical adherents of Islam) have inspired poets and artists to create extraordinary verses and artworks.
Sufis have also made important contributions to Islamic art and culture as patrons, artists, builders, and poets.” Oguz’s oil paintings combine colour and texture, as she traverses new spaces in them. Her finished works are signed with a brush, made from her own hair. As personal a touch as can be.
“I want to inspire others to believe in themselves with my art,” she says. The paintings take several months to develop, and sometimes she works 10-12 hours a day. But she is never bored, since art for her is a matter not only of the body, but also of the soul.
She has displayed her work at many exhibitions, and has received international recognition.
Her artworks are available in different sizes and formats and also as giclée fine art prints, with original signature and brushstrokes.
Among others, she counts the infinite grace of Leonardo da Vinci, the unprecedented grandeur of Michelangelo, the academic style of Alexandre Cabanel, the virtuosity of Jan van Eyck, the magic of Rembrandt, the symbolism of Mitch Griffiths, the psychological investigations of Will Yu, the narrative impressionistic realism of Casey Baugh and the human figures of Nick Alm, among her influences.
“My canvas is my universe,” Oguz says to Gulf Today, much in the tone and way of a Sufi. She invites the paper to explore them with her.
Many artists paint on Sufis. What makes your art different?
My art represents mystic visionary art with the expression of the physical world of nature in a wider vision of awareness. Each painting is more than just a colour on canvas: it’s a piece of my soul telling you the story of body, mind and spirit.
What aspects of Rumi influence you as an artist?
I truly love Rumi from my deepest heart. My art is inspired by Rumi’s philosophical perspective on the human soul and the meaning of life.
What is the link between materialistic Dubai, your background as a marketing professional and your spiritualist art?
Since my childhood, my heart was beating for art. Dubai, the melting pot of art and cultures and land of opportunities, has given me the courage to step out of my conventional life and be daring to find my true vocation.
You have Turkish roots, German nationality and Emirati inspirations. How are they reflected in your art?
Well, I would say my art is definitely reflected by my Turkish emotional side, German ambition and Emirati courage!
Why do you like to paint in oil?I love oil paints because of their flexibility and depth of colour. I often use glazing, blending and layering techniques; so it gives me the full opportunity to reach greater richness of colour as well as a wide range of tonal transitions and shades.
You like to paint monumental works. Why?
l like to paint on large canvases to express my deepest thoughts and feelings about our life. Also, I want to lift up with my paintings the wokeness about the human capability with body, mind and spirit. We all live for a purpose and I guess that’s mine.
Who are the painters — historic and contemporary — who have impacted you?
I was always inspired by Renaissance art and admire so many artists, as of course Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Alexandre Cabanel, Jan van Eyck, Rembrandt, and others of their class.
One of my favourite contemporary artists is Mitch Griffiths — I can literally watch his paintings for hours — and also Will Yu. The way he plays with great bold colours is amazing. I also mention Casey Baugh and Nick Alm, among others.
How many exhibitions have you had?Do you have a good market for your work? What has been the feedback?
Ever since I presented my paintings in public, I have received very positive feedback, for which I am really so grateful.
Sometimes I think the viewer can really feel what I felt while painting my canvas. I have had seven exhibitions as yet, during “COVID time”.
We had a pause — but many future exhibitions are planned already and I am looking forward to them.My artwork is available for everyone, such as the huge, original oil paintings and also fine art prints in different sizes. The market is going well.
You are a self-taught artist. What is your advice to artists who are beginning their life as self-taught artists?
My biggest advice is “Don’t push your weaknesses. Play with your strengths and do it with passion”.
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