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Some Critiques About İsmet Tatar

İnci KANSU, Paper Artist - Cyprus, 2005


İf you would like to read the paintings of this islander artist who is carried away by the building block of nature, EARTH/LAND, you will come up against forms resulting from the meeting of canvas and paper that shape as they spread. At first glance, colour and texture stand out to be the most prominent and attractive characteristics of İsmet Tatar’s work to the eye of the viewer. One gets the feeling that the artist wants to place these slightly moving, restless, and mysterious surfaces to the same level as the chaos in our lives. The artist strived to analyze all sorts of tremor, dilemma, solitude and nuisance spread on the intellectual, social, political and cultural lives of today’s human beings in general and islanders in particular. The artist also investigates the memory of the Earth through rough surfaces, relief works and what evolves as the abstract imagery of frontiers on land, which she colours in natural earthlike tones. Leaving these both shaky and stable forms that are from time to time injected with natural materials does not constitute being scattered to void. On the contrary, taking shelter in them and the logic of settling as opposed to migration is associated with the concept of property. With the understanding of emptiness and fullness in nearly all of her works, the artist emphasizes the significance of silence in empty spaces as much as the dynamism in filled spaces within the organization of the pictoral space and suggests that we form new relationships and meanings with EARTH/LAND… 

Neriman Cahit - Cyprus, 2005


Integrating with the “Earth/Land”, which has been a shared nightmare for us all recently, she establishes her own authentic language, observations
and clues. A piece of ordinary mud, yellow stone dust, sand paper clay, a dry leaf, a stem... as the dimensions brought by the meanings bestowed
on them entangle... stand sometimes as a questionmark and sometimes as an exclamationmark as they drain from the paths that are sophistica-
ted in the final simplicity of the painting and expressionist in its silence. At the eye and the heart levels of the viewer, everything is a problem of
consciousness.The present might be forgotten or never learned. The past might be con-temporary. Art exists within these axes.

European Mediterranean Arts Association, 2006


The artist, who has been creating her works centered around the theme of human beings and nature, has brought new openings to her past ex-
periences and focused on a more political perspective; thus, in this exhibition, structuring her recent works on the discourse of “holy land”. The debate, which stems from the question “Can people subsist with no land/ territory?”, is elaborated with the ongoing socio-political processes in
Cyprus through the trichotomy of Land-Deed-Individual. Alongside the collage technique which she uses frequently, she blends
certain natural materials (i.e. sand) with paint and applies them to the surfaces. In her exhibition titled “Ve Toprak” (“and Earth”) in addition to

these techniques, she also uses tea bags emphasizing certain characteristics such as colour, texture and volume. Moreover, while she highlights

the variety and richness of earth by hanging different kinds of soil filled into glass tubes, she procreates awareness, as well as transforming them
into aesthetic values.In this process of questioning, undertaken by concepts and materials, it is sensed at the point of the indispensability of earth/territory for individuals’ lives that it structures itself as an aesthetical problematique. In this process of structuring, earth slides into a wider, multilayered intellectual platform by foregrounding its inner richness materially and conceptually. Finally, it goes beyond the meaning it embodies, and reflects itself as astructure which recreates our day.

Nancy STROW SHELEY, Associated Prof, 2008 


My favorite of the olive tree paintings captures the joy of dance, with a couple entwined in the trunk of the tree, lifting their arms to music, fore-
ver touching and in love. On the interactive, magnetic art: One of the most unusual works is a series of rectangles and squares—each is a complete and independent creation—in color and in texture. Each has a magnetic backing which is used with a reciprocal magnetic “canvas.” She says, this is art that the viewer constructs, the pieces can be arranged any way the viewer wishes to see the shapes, the colors, the forms-interactive art in a new and different format. On “Four Faces”: A large work, hanging above an antique wooden chest in her home, the portrait of four women is one that I cannot overlook. It is almost haunting in its intensity, its reflection of these women, real women İsmet has known. Each has her own story—of grief, of despair, of madness, perhaps—but, too, of life as it is and will be—endured. On the constructed work with paper rolls and tied string: One of her most interesting pieces—constructed of rolls of handmade paper tied with string, with pieces of old deeds, architectural drawings — proof of pro-
perty ownership—tied to the bottom of the rolls, blowing in the wind... symbolize the divided Cyprus and the loss of property experienced in
1974. To someone to whom the land is life itself, this ripping away from family homesteads, from ownership and the “land of my family” brings
unending anguish and frustration—how can that loss be resolved? As the gods will...
This work is propped upon a radiator and is surrounded by drawings doneby İsmet‘s grandchildren—the perfect touch for the artist who feels and

lives her feminine role in life, who acknowledges the multivalent perspectives of the female psyche, and who honors a purposeful life amidst

a world of division and change, destruction and devotion, pain and promise.

Heidi Trautmann, 2013


‘‘We are all children of earth; we come from earth and go back to earth, so the earth is our mother, to us humans and animals and to all the trees and plants that are rooted in her.” It is Ismet Tatar’s leitmotiv, her deep belief, and the motor of her art. She deplored the death of the olive trees during the great fire in 1995 and she deplores the loss of property, because for
her earth – soil – land - my land is something sacred and with her work she stands up and defends the right of the earth, her right and duty, the
duty and right of all of us. Ismet Tatar takes the products of the earth, leaves, fruit and seed, roots and turns them into layers of paper to create her art and to visualize the beauty of nature in its purest form. A labour intensive process, a meaningful process of creation full of thoughts of gratitude – an honouring gesture.

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