Suzan Batu

I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. My mother is Russian and my father was Turkish so I grew up speaking a total of about 5 languages. I studied translation at the University of Graz in Austria. But it seems I was always drawing or thinking about drawing so my planned career in translation did not materialize. I received my B.F.A. degree at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

Living in California was quite a joyous experience for me. Unfortunately at some point I felt like I had left behind not just a certain culture but the whole planet and I couldn’t cut off all my ties to earth. So I moved to New York, the center of Western Civilization, which has proved itself to me to be everything I hoped it would be. In New York I got my M.F.A. degree at Brooklyn College. I have exhibited my work in numerous solo and group shows here but also in Turkey, Belgium and now in Amsterdam, Holland in April 2000. My work has also been included in “Eye Candy”, a traveling group show of artists from L.A. and N.Y. which opens in L.A. in April.

I have done some curating here in New York, which I enjoy very much. Most recent is the group show called “FASHIONED” which was on view during the 98-99 season which included among other things a very eccentric, full fledged fashion show. I am currently living and working in New York. STATEMENT The artists I relate to first and foremost and from the beginning are minimalist painters such as Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelly; and from a later era Roy Lichtenstein to name a few. My paintings are informed by a Pop sensibility: lava lamps, op-art, vinyl, the colors used for formica and home decoration, and the almost garish color that was all the rage in the sixties and fifties when I was growing up.

These are all ideas I incorporate into my work. Through my paintings I try to express and also instill in the viewer a feeling of vertiginous exuberance by using optically charged colors in combination with swirling arabesques hinting at more traditional sensibilities like Islamic decorative art. The fragile and delicate nature of the arabesques done freehand very meticulously are played off against the industrial strength of the colors I use. The effect is mesmerizing and almost hypnotic as the vibrations of the colors themselves are echoed in the rhythmic curves of the arabesques. We are lured unexpectedly into an ancient dance that propels us swirling into the future