Public Street by Baris Goktuk '20, image transfer, ink, acrylic and oil on linen
Courtesy of the Artist and Helena Anrather, New York

Baris Gokturk '20 Makes NY Solo Exhibition Debut with 'Public Secret'

BY Angeline Dimambro, November 24, 2020

Public Secret marks the first solo exhibition in New York for Baris Gokturk '20. Gokturk specialized in sculpture at Columbia University and holds a previous MFA in painting from Hunter College. He currently teaches at John Hopkins University, Pace University, and Hunter College. He has shown his work internationally in the US, Germany, Spain, France, Korea, Turkey and Puerto Rico. 


New Yorkers can find the show on exhibition at the Helena Anrather Gallery, but pieces are also available to view online via a virtual exhibition. “Comprising a new body of large-scale paintings using image-transfer and layered mixed media, the show expands Gokturk’s ongoing investigation of the slippages between the formal elements of painting and the conceptual relationship between image and meaning in the wider cultural and political context while extending and exposing the archeology of the painted surface.” Through these large-scale paintings, Gokturk investigates concepts including “transposition, altered states of protest, and what art might be.”


In his artist statement, Gokturk said that while growing up in Turkey in the nineties exposed him to instability, it wasn’t until his arrival in New York in 2011, which coincided with the Occupy Wall Street protest, that his own “awareness of social turmoil really expanded.” Another key moment for Gokturk came two years later: “The next wave for me was during the Gezi Protests in Istanbul, in 2013. That was when I became aware of my limitations as an individual, as just one body in one place and time. The questions for me were manifold: What should I do? What is my role: citizen, immigrant, expat, artist, person? It was paralyzing to watch the events unfolding in my hometown from my studio in New York. Glued to computer and the phone screen, watching. Participating some, organizing some from a distance, writing, posting on social media... but really, in the end, it was energy and paralysis at once.”


As Gokturk noted, “this contradiction is not new.” Public Secret explores the space of protest in its many, and often, contradictory, forms. “It’s this idea of an unformed, sometimes unknowable potential that is at the heart of these paintings...For me, the speculative surface of painting has become a way of processing the speculative space of protest, the former a reflection for evaluating the many directions of the latter’s potential.”


You can visit the virtual exhibition here.