On the Paintings of Deniz Ozan-George:
The Breaking of the Golden Egg
Deniz Ozan-George, Energy Web, acrylic, 2015
Deniz Ozan-George is a painter whose work invites the viewer to do much
more than look. Even the simplest of her paintings are usually composed of many layers; so too, we must approach them step by step, glimpse by
tangential glimpse, leap by only later to be integrated leap. As we get to know one of Ozan-George's paintings, our exploration may indeed result in
an "Aha!" The process, however, is not one of addition; it is rather one of subtraction. We must prepare ourselves to breathe with the artist as she breathes.
More often than not, I tend to see Ozan-George's paintings as cosmologies, in which the eternal present moment has been broken apart and is just
about to be projected into time. The four corners of the canvas are the four ages or the four fixed signs of the zodiac or the four elements. The canvas is
an arena of ritual action, in which the vertical and horizontal axes intersect. The artist does not, beyond a point, indicate how these zones of ritual
action should be viewed. Is this order or chaos, emergence or disintegration, natural breadth or meditative depth, microcosmic or interstellar space?
Much information has been provided by the creator, but it is up to the viewer to complete the cosmological act, to coax the almost completed
world into a state of full coherence. The questions that we ask will determine the answers that we get. Certain paintings might resist us, others
might draw us in. Whatever our relative distance, if we were to look at one of her paintings for an hour every day, we would never see quite the same thing twice.
Deniz Ozan-George, Reflections 2, encaustic,2021
There are times when the artist herself is no more than a bystander, when she gladly lets go of her own name. At those times, she is no more than an
inhalation that somehow comes back as a gesture. As viewers, we stand just behind the shoulder of the artist, almost mute. As she circles, so do we, in
the breathing space just outside of the edges of the canvas. The painting reaches for the artist, and we watch her weave its electromagnetic fields into a net.
Here as elsewhere, we might believe that we do no more than observe. And
yet…Without our distant but not so distant interaction with the artist, the painting may have turned out quite differently than it did. Only space
divides our intuitions from those of Ozan-George. There are fields; no line is fixed. Were we not, in a way, present for the painting of the painting, we
might see no more than pigments on a canvas. We might simply repeat, "My six-year-old could do it," the classic spell for the warding off of vision.
We would not have accepted the artist's invitation to be where we were not. We would not have set out on a journey.
Deniz Ozan-George, Plasma Storm, acrylic, 2015
In Ozan-George's work, signs point us towards a technology of the vacuum, towards the method by which an unknown impulse became Nature,
towards the birth of an archaic science from the ocean. As she steps back from the yolk of her steadily congealing nebula, from the ionized gas of the
paint, from the resonance of the canvas, we can see the artist pause to take possession of an accident. Either choice or both may lead to a dark rift.
If the success or failure of the painting is unknown, if the artist is also
unknown to herself, this lack of knowledge is a form of knowledge. She is as blank as might be necessary. To be open in the way that she desires to be
open is to be able to touch everything at once. Fierce teachers protect her. Living mirrors have her back. Her hand signals to risk that it is welcome to
approach. Her eyes hear and her ears see. Her nerves and muscles think. Her intellect is as tactile in its orientation as a snail. Her nose analyses the
hieroglyphic chanting of a sky—a sky that long ago ceased to exist.
Once duplicated by Tesla, there is a tower ringed with electrocuted birds.
From it, free energy flows. Like an incandescent coil, the artist pulls down the energy that is also a kind of information. Such energy is neither deadly
nor benevolent in itself. A certain amount of transduction is required. X marks the painting. The artist's lack of preconceptions allows things to
move through her, even as her method provides for just the right amount of resistance.
Deniz Ozan-George, In the Garden 2, encaustic, 2021
Even now, the first continents are thrusting from the ocean. The stars draw
up their shadows from the waves. The artist is no more but no less present than a cloud, than the impulse that moves on the surface of the waters.
Yes, effort is needed, and a subtle quality of attention, as the conjuration
leads around many twists and turns, out of dead ends, into many new false starts. These requirements apply to all concerned, to the artist and the
viewer, to those powers evoked by the format, to those presences that assist in the squaring of the circle. The picture operates on a need-to-know basis.
A master is only a beginner with experience. No less than the viewer, the artist must be continuously willing to test her mode of vision, to keep her
cosmos intimate with chaos at its edges.
Deniz Ozan-George, Knowing 1, encaustic, 2021
For the good work is the one that self-destructs, thus opening one's eyes. The "oeuvre" is the ovum: the already perfect museum gallery of the egg,
from whose darkness the fingers of each work reach back to reconfigure the artist.
Deniz's most recent series of paintings is in encaustic. Her exhibit "Playing with Fire" will be opening at Galatea Fine Art in September.
Playing with Fire
As I emerged from the pandemic winter of 2021, I was overwhelmed by a desire for warmth and the sight of lush growing things. With a
renewedsense of excitement and momentum, I began this series of encaustic paintings using the open flame of a torch. Fusing and moving the
melted wax on the panel, and setting fire to the wet shellac, I followed the will of the wax as it created layers of filigree and color within the depths of
each painting. What finally emerged were these abstracted reflections of sky, water, and tangles of blossoms.
Playing with Fire refers to the vital role of "play" in my creative process. Following my intuition is sacred, rules are to be broken, and reckless
experiment often leads to a sense of unexpected delight - yet the risk inherent in applying an open flame to a wax painting is always present.
Playing with fire involves danger; I'm working on the knife's edge between control and chaos. Seeking the true essence of the medium and the image
that arises from this alchemical process is nothing less than exhilarating.
Deniz Ozan-George: Playing with Fire, September 3rd-September 26th, Galatea Fine Art, 406B Harrison Ave., Boston, MA, 02118 617-542-1500
Metapsychosis: Interview with Deniz Ozan-George