Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Artist Highlight: Nihal Kececi

Meet the Artist: Nihal Kececi in her own words....

"I am adept at mixing left-and right-brain pursuits, splitting my time between computer screen and canvas. Experimenting with conscious and unconscious painting process raised questions in my mind about self reflective nature of reality. As an engineer, I try to find a model for any complex system for controlling system variables in a logical way. During the intuitive painting process, I learned that modeling and controlling have not been successful for my style of painting, as my best paintings are created when I allowed my hands and my mind to flow freely. I have been wondering if programmed thinking and focus on control prevents one from reaching their soul. I hope that my work touches your mind, heart and soul."

When Nihal Kececi was 13, her first art exhibition made her a local celebrity in her small town in Turkey. Though she attended one year of visual art school, she also felt a pull toward the sciences, and against her parents’ wishes, decided to pursue a degree in physics. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering, Nihal began her professional life as a design engineer in Turkey.

An opportunity to work as a research associate at the University of Maryland brought Nihal and her ten-year-old daughter to the United States in 1997. They then moved to Canada when Nihal was offered a position at the University of Montreal—Quebec. From 1997-2004 she worked as a software analyst in USA and Canada. Though she frequently visited art galleries, Nihal did not begin drawing again until 2001, after a 27-year hiatus. From 2001-2004, she spent her time equally between technical projects and painting. A turning point for the artist came in 2003 when a professor who purchased four of her paintings told her, “Nihal, there are many engineers, but not artists. Your contribution to society as an artist will be greater than as an engineer.” Since 2004, Nihal has been painting full time, working in pastel, oil and acrylic.

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