I see all life like a painting. My works express my emotions about the world we live in and relationships we develop on a personal, social and political level. Painting reflects my experience of life; with much light and darkness, some events appearing clear on the surface, but many hidden agendas going on in the background. Constant themes I explore are ongoing human struggles about identity, dominance, ideological brainwashing, power and powerlessness, betrayal and double-dealing. I work with fluid forms to create a dense texture composed of many portraits, ranging in size from very large to tiny, some obvious, others hidden deep within the composition. The large portraits provide structure and the smaller portraits are woven into the texture. The large and tiny portraits symbolise how similar patterns of behaviour and events play out in people's personal lives and also at the level of communities, nations and international politics. The large and small juxtaposition is also intended to convey my thoughts about the relationship and impact of world events and major ideologies on the conditions of each person's individual experience. Yet although each person experiences their own individual fragment of the world, there is an identifiable range of emotional responses that are part of our shared human condition. Oil is the primary medium. I developed the Turkish Weave, Turkish Whirling and Dissolve techniques by mixing oil paint with alkyds and resins to create my own language of expression that reflects my Turkish cultural heritage. Since 2010 I began painting on carved wood as a means of breaking free from the convention of working within a rectangular frame. In 2009 I purchased the trunk of a Cedar Tree and had it sliced horizontally and vertically. It takes about 18 months to slice, dry, sand, carve and prepare the wood prior to painting. Early influences were Bosch, Rembrandt, Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, and Chagall, but mostly I work from nature.
Gültekin Bilge is a Turkish Cypriot Artist, born on 13th October 1945. He received his M.A. from the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under Devrim Erbil and Ali Çelebi before graduating from the atelier of Dinçer Erimez in 1972. Bilge’s journey through life has not been easy. He was unable to paint for many years after losing the use of his right hand when he was shot in the 1974 Cyprus War. This injury led to a very dark period in his life, full of anger, pain, frustration, and an increased sense of personal and political powerlessness, isolation and loss of identity. These emotions find full expression in his artworks. During the long period of recovery he worked as an art teacher whilst following developments in contemporary art and searching for ways to create his own unique style that could be recognised as Turkish. He returned to painting full time in 2005. Since then he has worked at a furious pace to build up a portfolio of work. From 2006 his work was exhibited for five years in Lefkosia (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). Since moving to UK in 2011, he has exhibited in USA, Australia, Japan and throughout Europe, winning several awards.
More information about the artist and an online gallery of his Original Artworks and Limited Edition Prints can be viewed on his website.