THE PAINTINGS OF MEHMET ARPACIK
by Fahir AKSOY (1916 - 2008)
The works of Mehmet Arpacık, born in 1936 in Bartın, Turkey, represent solid samples of naïve art, which is characterized by the word naïve, originating from the Latin word nativus, meaning natural, simple, unalloyed and pure.
Since naïve art is not a school or a trend, it does not have any defined principles or rules. The primary element that defines naïve art is the presence of preserved childish sensitivity. These artists find ways and techniques they will follow in a certain discipline by themselves, and they reach the aesthetic degree they have instinctively aimed at. These works are rarely influenced by other kinds of art. And this provides them an authentic value. However, there are some works (for instance Chagall’s works) which carry mostly naïve elements although they are considered within other categories of schools and trends. Meanwhile, there are differences between the educated naïve artists and the uneducated ones. What makes them listed under the same category is the naïve sensitivity that is dominant in their art. For this reason, when judging naïve artworks, one should avoid generalizations. I believe, to be able to decide whether these artists are “successful” or not, one should study the matter in terms of relative and objective measures.
The reason for this brief explanation of mine about naïve art is the inspiration I have received from Mehmet Arpacık’s works, which are the “prototypes” of this art. In his paintings, we clearly observe the effects of the nature of his village, vast plains, forests, and waterfalls accumulated in his subconscious, and the reflections of his inner world, a combination of pure colors not lost to the city’s gray cover, and a clear atmosphere illuminated by the sun.
His works, using mostly light and medium toned colors in large spaces, creating a sense of peace, awakening joy at times, share an idiosyncratic expression, and cause a sense of optimism and contentment, as if providing the viewer a kind of rehabilitation. The notion that his paintings seem “easy to make” is another aspect that attributes a naïve character to his works.
Mehmet Arpacık’s paintings have continuously been climbing towards the peak with increasing value in due course, and one day his art will take the place it deserves in the history of art.
DISCLOSURE: This article was written by late painter and critic Fahir Aksoy (1916-2008) for one of earlier Mehmet Arpacik's exhibitions during his last years. It was sent in by Elvan Arpacik (daughter of Mehmet Arpacik) for the occasion of Mehmet Arpacik's upcoming exhibition in Hoboken, New Jersey. The opening date is: On Wed. April 18, 2012, and will remain on view until May 9, 2012.
- Initial translation is revised by Figen Bingül, Light Millennium for Mehmet Arpacik's upcoming exhibition.
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Posted on: March 25, 2012