Contemporary Turkish artist Hakan Esmer – born in Vakfıkebir/Trabzon, Turkey in the northern coast of Turkey in 1973 – graduated from the Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Fine Arts, in 1994. Esmer obtained his M.F.A. at the Anatolian University, Eskişehir in 1996. He has taught courses of Art Education, Mural Art, Stained Glass and Painting between 1994 and 2011 in Anatolian University. The artist has attended numerous symposiums and held workshops of drawing, painting and stained glass abroad as well as Turkey. Esmer resigned from Anatolian University and established his own atelier in Eskişehir where he currently works and lives.
Hakan Esmer’s work includes a diverse range of subjects in which time and space appear as substantial elements. According to Turkish art historian Kıymet Giray, Esmer observes the spaces as the points of stop in the rapid flow of life and he transforms biographies and memories into narratives. Landscape abstraction and figurative abstraction are significant elements of Esmer’s artistic practice. Constructed upon an abstracted and fictional background, the artist’s depictions render cultural connections frequently taking snapshots of life. These interpretations, which draw upon the artist’s own imaginary world, reflect people’s daily routine as well as fantastic landscapes and cityscapes. People chatting in cafés, street florists and fishermen in their boats frequently appear in Esmer’s Cafés, Dialogues and Heyyamola series paintings.
Another quality often seen in Esmer’s paintings is the vibrant and bright colours and their composition of different layers assembled to form a larger whole. The artist’s method of abstraction encompasses multiple, usually eight layers, each of which reveals his working process from the beginning to the end. In this way, the artist leaves hints for each step he takes on the surface of the canvas where the thick impasto applications are always the last ones, in a way like a full stop in a sentence.
Apart from these, Esmer utilizes methods which are reminiscent of printing techniques. For instance, he applies gel on the canvas and removes it after putting another layer of colour. In this technique, abstracted forms come into being through the negative surfaces on which gelatine is applied just like various printing techniques such as etching. The artist also uses tapes in a similar way. Eventually, the work establishes a link between the theme and the form questioning the notions of time and space.
In his most recent painting series, Cityscapes, Esmer makes use of the collage technique. He creates an imaginary space and view based on his observations, photos and sketches. While the view exists in a similar way in real world, the components of the cityscape, such as the houses, roads, streets are picked up from different parts of the town and gathered into the same composition. In a way, the work involves collages that are constructed upon abstract forms.
Hakan Esmer has been awarded with numerous prestigious national and international awards and his works have been included in significant private and public collections. Esmer has been leading an art colony named ‘Alarm’ which consists of over fifteen artists in Eskişehir, Turkey. The artist is also currently the jury member of Peker Sanat Award – a prestigious award given annually to the successful young talents in Turkey.
In 2016, Hakan Esmer was invited to Szentendre Art Colony for the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the art colony, as a “special guest artist” and became the first foreign artist who was given an atelier. He has been recently asked to hold solo shows by several prestigious institutions in Central Europe amongst which Hungarian Creative Artists Association (MANK), Hungary; Jelsa Municipality Museum, Croatia and Skofja Loka Museum, Slovenia can be mentioned. Hakan Esmer’s international solo exhibition tours will extend to other countries in the region like Austria, Slovakia and Czech Republic.