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G.Bilge consistently employs vibrant colour during his investigative journey through form and texture.
He restlessly explores different forms and develops new techniques.
The 2006 paintings are an early exploration in trying to develop forms and motifs that might be recognised as a Turkish style. During this period he researched the forms of old Uygur Turkish writing and experimented with ways to adapt them into oil painting using the sgrafitto technique. These forms which he now calls “Turkish Weave” began to emerge in late 2006-7 and are predominant in the paintings produced in 2008, notably the Cyprus Time Bomb series.
Late in 2008 Bilge tentatively began playing with the boundaries of the images to break free from the convention of working within a rectangular frame. By 2009 most of the images have irregular boundaries. Around this time he also developed the “Turkish Whirling” technique, which materialises in the 2009 artworks. This new style of oil painting was created by adapting the forms of traditional Turkish marbling (a water based technique to imprint designs onto paper). The result generates a similar visual effect to marbling although often with a very high gloss finish that almost looks like ceramic. During 2009 he also experimented with trying to use the Turkish Whirling technique in acrylics and mixed media. The paintings in the Joy of Discovery Series (2009) are the outputs from this period of using the sgrafitto and whirling techniques to produce a series of images that play with form, colour, and texture. These images provide a strong contrast between the Turkish Weave forms and the marbling effect. The Turkish Whirling technique is employed in most of the paintings in the Endless Expression Series (2009). In many of the artworks of this period we also see the emergence of a ripple texture that also gives the appearance of a ceramic finish.
The Turkish Whirling technique really comes into its own in the Beautiful Seeds of Destruction series (2010). In all of these paintings, the high gloss marble effect is contrasted with embedded images of disease which are matt in texture. Also in 2010 the first wood series builds upon the idea of changing the boundaries by painting directly onto irregular natural wooden shapes. In these paintings the whirling technique is again often contrasted with different textures.
In 2011 Bilge’s ideas of playing with boundaries ideas progressed to develop the Carved Wood series. In these artworks the wood is carved into fabulous shapes before being painted. Many of them consist of two or three pieces, so the composition is complex; paintings within paintings. In 2011 he was searching for a new texture when he discovered that he could use cedar resin combined with oil paint to achieve the effect he was searching for in order to refine the “Dissolve” technique, which is predominant in the 2011 Carved Wood series.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has been under embargos for almost 40 years. The political situation limited Bilge’s opportunities to exhibit, although he participated in various group exhibitions and sold works in Cyprus and Turkey. From 2004 – 2011 Bilge had a permanent display of works at his own atelier in the Büyük Han, Lefkoşa (Nicosia). Whilst he was living in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus he did not exhibit internationally because of embargoes on trade and cultural exchange. Since moving to the UK in 2011 his work has been exhibited internationally in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and throughout Europe. During this period he has also received many awards. His works are held in private collections in Turkey, Europe and Japan.
1st Prize Applied Arts, London Art Biennale
Raffaello Sanzio Award, Brindisi, Italy
Europa Award, 1st European Biennale, Paris
Art Tour International Magazine’s Timeless Award, Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto
Palma D’Ora for ART, Monaco
Art Critic’s Prize 6th International Festival of Rome, Rome
Artistic Trophy Knights of Malta, Valletta, Malta
Salvo D’Acquisto Award, Brindisi, Italy
1st Prize; Royal Arts Prize Competition, London
2nd Prize; LifeArt WorldWide, Brisbane
Award for Artistic Merit; London Art Biennale
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Gültekin Bilge -The Compelling Unveiling of Souls
Christopher Rosewood, International Confederation of Art Critics. , ICA
“Gültekin’s works represent the whole variety of human existence, in the different aspects of its being and dictated by its subconscious, by its emotions, by its most intimate sensations. Everything originates from his thoughts, from what he feels inside, and that he manages to reproduce on canvas with incredible artistry and talent.”
Alessandro Rizzo, Art Critic
“A hymn to humanity could define the artistic production of Gültekin Bilge, artist from Cyprus. The essence of a glorious and epic past, which may be contained in pre-Romanticism, recurs in Bilge’s shapes and in his new, modern and personal artist canons. A never-ending quest for peace and coexistence among nations, made up of people with faces like theatre masks, who suffer and cry their anger in a world indifferent towards injustice. We see this process constantly emerge in Bilge’s productions, so as to give him a certain harmony between the technical choice of material, on which the author goes to work, and the message, aesthetic and content, of the work itself.”
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