Nilay Özenbay, who was born in Istanbul is married and has two children.
She graduated from Istanbul F.M.V. Işık Private High School, afterwards she has graduated with a first degree from Department of Sculpture of Visual Arts Faculty of Işık University in 2015.
Sculptor Nilay Özenbay started to sculpture with sculptor İrfan Korkmazlar. She worked with him between 1997-2004. She had continued to work with the academician of Visual Arts Faculty of Marmara University, Ziyaeddin Nuriev and worked in Zeynep Art Studio.
In 2008, she attended a workshop in New York School of Visual Arts.
Between 2010-2012, she had continued to work in the studios of sculptors Yunus Tokuş, Mine Akın, Hüseyin Alpaslan, and Ertuğ Atlı.
She is now continuing her works in her own studio.
THE RECALLING OF THE GODDESS;
Human beings are the sources of all worldly and creative actions; they are nature; their consciousnesses are nature itself. In order to become the self, one has to take the core of one’s self out into the open and work on it. People find themselves sculpting, painting or writing when they reach the potential within the dough of our essence. The first thing we come across is the sculptor when we are dragged through the doors of three dimensionality. In ancient times, Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian and Hellenic sculptors started competing with their imaginary spaces, which they later brought forward into the reality. Having noticed the movement in static blocks of stone and marble, they gave life to these pieces of rocks and returned them to nature with a new symbolic meaning. With only one difference; this was to reach their target without imitating reality. Traditional sculptors have ornamented these block of stones, which were only bumps in space, and elements such as bronze wood and dolomite, within the surrounding circumstances.
Nilay Özenbay, who comes from the same ancestors as these ancient creators, greets us as a skillful artist who points out the conscious of Greek, Roman and Hellenic three dimensionality. As a person who has worn the aura of Anatolian villages in which there are monumental sculpture studios, she set of to work with her tools in her hand, to present space new forms. It is the artist’s goal to present an aesthetic object to this enormous space into which humans are born and which is design by nature. Bronze – the element used by the artist – is a natural element which appeared after a series of quakes that caused the creation of the world. The artist removes this element from its root, changes it into the state in which she an tell her own self and places her story into the genes of the material.
Ancient Eastern polymaths claimed that there were to sides to a creative person: the right side, which is the Tonal part and the left side, also known as the Nagual side. The tonal side is the part which contains everything related to the human brain, logic and verbal awareness. Its job is to create order out of chaos and to provide the stability of objects that are in space which are composed of infinite vibrations of energy flow. The Nagual side is infinity which cannot be put into words, but can only be witnessed. One can say the following based on this knowledge; it does not matter whether the artist has designed the sculpture in her head or not, after picking up the piece of clay, an unknown force nudges her from behind and a journey into the unknown, filled with memories and dreams start. However, the singluar feelings within the artist’s resources do not decompose all at once and without losing their sense of unity they become a form that runs for flawlessness. One has to reach the unknown in order to be unique. The “Critical Mass” that one continuously percieves in the outside world has to be overcome for the “New” to be born. To convert chaos, which ruins all sorts of consistency in infinity. At this stage, a new existence is presented to space when the artist’s themes – such as femininity – and reflections spring to life through the use of bronze. The artist might be in need of a makeover within a frame of these dimensions, distances, horizons, boundries and the themes she focuses on. It might be that since she finds the most perfect shelter of emotion the highest consciousness to be within women, she starts a new story with the female figure. Space, which stands as emptiness, motionless absolute figures, and laws that stand in front of her calls out for the lively female form instead of the stable male figure. If the world and human beings are a surface seen from other façades of the universe, this means that she has to produce her own faces. While she kneads the dough in front of her she silently says: “I need to present life a new face, bronze faces are faces of my inner being and they all have their own adventure”. At this stage a secret connection with endlessness comes to surface. To hold on to the ropes hanging from that gigantic preposterous emptiness, that endless immortal thing. To go to the utmost place to see what happens, to pour blood and everything that is alive into the vessels of the rigid material. To give life to a block of solid bronze and the beginning of true stories with the company of light.
Nilay Özenbay’s bronze women series is the figures of a perception type that has been chosen since the day she started producing. First, women’s superior characteristics have brought them together. Rebellious women, strong women, women who are angels, women who have suffered, and women who are being examined by life are figures that are chosen specially by the artist and are reborn through the artist’s definitions of femininity. “Sculpting in reality, occupying a new area in space, also means rescuing the object from its exceedings”. Plato’s words: “Auto to Kalon” – no self-beauty – are a starting point for the artist. Sensation, recollection, inner observation and the 3-D creations that expresses all of the preceding, contains a structure, which is dedicated to examine the furthest limits of the object that is identical to the outside world on one hand, but cruises externally on the other. The artist’s sculpture compositions follows a path that is very feminine and that crowns femininity. The fact that the connection between the artist’s individual strategy and the three-dimensionals matches perfectly, introduces us products that have been designed and planned. Existence is a reality that renews itself and appears in new forms any moment, and it cannot be fit into logical rules.
Platon believes that a part of the soul feels – Alagon – and the other part thinks – Logiston. The sensation/ reasoning/ perception triad constitutes the creation of art. At the same time art is the organizing of fantasies and the ability to give an answer to a mutual memory. Once the ‘Critical Mass’ is overcome, it is the artist’s goal to realize the energy of her big existence mission, to curb it, and to reduce it to a energetic-micro/ work of art, a creation. Nilay Özenbay is an artist who is aware of this reality; therefore she aims to match the inner and outer focuses of this energy. The fact that she presents her chosen sensations and thoughts that find life in bronze, with her own observations and life experiences is the ideal path that the artist follows. Art is only authentic when it is born from an artist’s own experiences. Every artist want to make a move of which the object is infinite. The ability to transform the inner self requires strength and courage. Nilay Özenbay show the authenticity of her work by using the invisible effects of facts in her life, her observations, her perceptions about things and turning points in her life such as the death of her father, the human sculpture that is in the form of a fetus. By stooping over existence, one tries to touch the side of humanity that is not limited by time and place, space and its coordinates. This is why while trying to solve the codes, she also divulges its unseen manner. For Nilay Özenbay, the female figure is an angel with her fertility, kindness, passion, substantiality and her protectiveness. Since space is filled with angels and since it is a place just like the womb where everything that is related to existence and creation were born, the three dimensional structure of sculpture resembles space, it matches space and has a feminine character. For this reason, while Nilay Özenbay demands, by calling out to the source of the pure energy, that the Big Unity and the hologram flow to her, she acts like the apprentice of the hologram. According to the artist, feminity is an angel-like condition. The female figure, who has encompassed all angel-like features, is so supreme and holy that its stories are told through sculptures. She is mother nature, she is the energy in earth. For this reason the starting point of her sculptures is kneading the wet dough, which represents feminity and later, after it is shaped, blowing a soul into it. At this stage all the materials – the dough, the bronze, the angel wings, the fairy feathers – mix into each other and a new feminine form is born through the hands of the artist. The aim of this step taken by the artist is to immortilize women. The artist, who tries to remove the necessary forms by proposing her own forms in every single piece, is a person who senses the values of the 21th century, who sees the energetic plans of the future and at the same time, is a person who plays with the unchangeable unknown. This is composed of three cycles; it means the blending of the present, the past, the future.
Walter Benjamin interprets Paul Klee’s “Angelus Novus” by in the following sentences: “A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress”. Nilay Özenbay looks into the past and the future with wide open eyes and believes wholeheartedly that she will carry the past into the future.
Gülseli İnal / Art Critic