From Line to Thread: Ambiguous Slices of Life
Six thousand steps beyond man and time.
The unaffected potency of line and thread is striking in the artworks of Banu Uğural. Her drawings, produced in focused, rapid movements, appear to speak to a quality of stillness nestled within the rush of daily life and are the end-result of the artist’s keen, quotidian observations. The narratives embroidered on fabric, refer particularly to observations of tranquility in the day-to-day, rendering a markedly poetic and textured image. The speed of instant sketching, a hasty record made on paper is juxtaposed with the laborious, intensive, hand embroidery using thread on fabric and both come together as serene and lyrical observation clusters. There appears to be a strange trail that can be followed from the rapidly wrinkled and fragile structure of the paper to the smooth and permeable texture of the fabric, which speaks to the transient and repetitive nature of the everyday. Traces composed on paper emerge as an encounter between paper and pen, whereas the works on fabric are the results of works of devotion, made slowly, appearing over time, imbued with an epic visuality as the threads sewn into the fabric marks moments in life that are fixed in place.
Uğural observes life between Istanbul and the Prince Islands. Instantaneous, daily occurrences, which may otherwise be brushed aside as insignificant are captured and fixed into the simple materials of paper and fabric. A ferry-ride, a dog’s sleep, or the desire for freedom and the cries of a seagull soaring in the sky enter Uğural’s frame.
The drawings are lyrical. The topics are commonplace. The works on paper are the result of fleeting, momentary stories. Unknown persons are portrayed; indistinct and ambiguous; the counterbalance of distance and proximity makes us consider how memory functions, how so much of what we observe has the tendency to fade into oblivion. Precious fabrics, some of which are family heirlooms embroidered for days and sometimes months, are transformed into new memory junctures carrying traces of the material’s own history yet endowed with the capture of the artist’s sketches through needle and thread. These moments embroidered with threads can be read as images carrying a nihilistic vision -like the image of a blurred photograph- idyllic, made in monochrome, a black and white recording of random memories rendered over months. In all of her work, the artist touches upon and processes the current world, the slippery nature of time itself, daily occurrences and coincidences that go unnoticed by most.
Banu Uğural’s careful observations make her a close reader of time. She reads against the ceaseless flow of the world, revealing the naive and joyful aspects of our tumultuous lives. Ultimately, Banu Uğural creates poetic mementos, moving from drawing to thread, from temporality to permanence, recording the familiar, poetic nature of the everyday. She conveys the fascinating nature of coincidences in a series of odes with impressive clarity.