The Artist Room presents Dialogue, a group exhibition including works by Natalia González Martín, Serpil Mavi Üstün and Khushna Sulaman-Butt. Exhibiting for the first time together, Dialogue features three London-based women artists who utilise portraiture to explore the nuances of how identities are formed in today’s diverse world.
Serpil Mavi Üstün’s practice is centred on the human figure. Drawn from the imagination, her characters are often depicted in isolation; whether gazing directly back at the viewer or sleeping and dreaming. Interested in psychology since her youth, Üstün intends to reflect her sympathy for traits she finds that she has in common with those around her. Moving from Turkey to the UK in 2016, recent works have been exploring notions of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ and what it feels like to be outside of a city’s art community. ‘What appeals to me is the banality of the things that bind us together,’ she recently observed.
To emphasise the form and expression of her figures, Üstün often works with a muted colour palette of pastel and grey tones, leaving backgrounds both sparse and infinite. Writer Layla Leiman has suggested the tense and psychologically-charged atmospheres found in works such as Leave the Door Open (2022) reference ‘the brave face we feel compelled to put on for society to mask our more complex psychic realities.’