One of the things I learned from Neşet Günal, perhaps the first thing, is to be “principled”.
Neşet Günal Symposium (Symposium, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University – Istanbul, 2016) p 100
Painter of realistic sensitivity
Reflections from the rural peoples lives are the traces of Neşet Günal’s painting world that cannot be erased from memory.
At home, at the table, while working in the fields, while thinking, resting; We find the extent of the adventure of the Anatolian people with nature, whose situation in every moment of life and their relationship with the earth is reflected plainly in his paintings. Günal virtually weaves this expressive side of his painting.
I always remember Neşet Günal walking in the corridors of the Department of Painting, wearing a turtleneck sweater and gray herringbone jacket, without a tie.
Neşet Günal Symposium (Symposium, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University – Istanbul, 2016) p 94
Drawing is homeland to Günal, the terra firma where his feet are on the ground. It is therefore inevitable that drawing will share in the principle of frugality which we have been discussing.
Günal deals wıth line like an accomplished mason. It is almost as though the process of elimination had become an act of careful hewing.
Neşet Günal (Science Art Gallery Publications, 1996) p 33
At first glance, his advocating a social and functional art may give the impression that Neşet Günal is close to the socialist-realist artistic perspective. However, his understanding of art, his artistic personality and his artistic attitude were developed and shaped by the constant questioning of life and his experiences, not based on an ideological premise or a contemporary art movement.
I have always felt respect, love and gratitude to the great master of Turkish painting. For enriching my taste, my knowledge, my consciousness (???? İntellect????).
Neşet Günal is the painter of large-scale and multi-figure compositions. (It would perhaps be more accurate to say “he is the architect” instead of painter). Just as a kilo of blue, in Gauguin’s words, is more blue than one gram of the same blue, the large-scale figure is more of a figure than the reduced size figure. In order to comprehend how effective the elements that constitute the inner dynamics of the figures in Günal’s painting are in large or life-like dimensions, it is a necessity to see the original artworks, not their prints.
Neşet Günal (Garanti Art Gallery – Istanbul, 1995) p 17
[About the “Scarecrow” series *]
By putting different clothes and hats on the scarecrow in each drawing or painting, by arranging people around it in different ways, Günal has brought diversity and movement to this series within itself. This diversity is not random; It is a breakdown of the details Anatolian people encounter between death and life. Günal, in this respect, while reaching a symbolic integrity, does not fail to speak of a sharp truth.
Neşet Günal (Urart Art Galleries – Istanbul, Ankara, 1988) p 6
* note by Zeynep Günal
As Neşet Günal’s students, we will remember him as a great painter and teacher who is traditional, but not conservative, who pushes to reconcile traditional art with the modern art.
Neşet Günal Symposium (Symposium, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University – Istanbul, 2016) p 83
Neşet Günal’s sensitivity committed to the figure with frank honesty has only taken root in his own land. When we look at his paintings, which are contradictory to fashion and speculative interpretations, we see without a doubt that this strength has been acquired from and justified by a local tradition.
Neşet Günal (Yapı Kredi Bank Galleries – Adana, 1993) p 3
For Neşet Günal, drawing is the main road that brings him to the painting that is his destination. Far more than being simply a preparatory stage before painting, drawing is one of the constituent elements of the painting. One could even go a bit further and say it is in fact the painting itself, challenging the arbitrary boundary between the one and the other.
Neşet Günal Drawings 1941 – 2001 (Milli Reasürans Art Gallery – Istanbul; Gallery Selvin – Ankara, 2001) p 3
The humanıty he glorified in the style of Fresco, whilst never falling into populism, without letting the respect for the problems of form get ahead of reality, never disturbing the balance of mind-emotion; the harshness with which he established his observational language distancing himself like an anthropologist, like a sociologist; the human essence, which he embraced as an insider who felt the helplessness of daily life; these modernize his art.
Neşet Günal Symposium (Symposium, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University – Istanbul, 2016) p 103
[About the “Wall” series *]
Meanwhile the series on walls brings up another problem connected with Günal’s art: the portrait. Actually, with their close (concrete) relationship to subjective life-content, portraits are somewhat contrary to Günal’s way, as clearly seen in the fact that apart from a memorial portrait of his father, and a drawing of his wife and daughters, he has never done a portrait in his life [as an artist *]. In his terms, a portrait of a specific person involves subjectivity which is of debatable interest to the viewer, and for this reason Günal has never peered into the mirror with thoughts of painting his own features.
Neşet Günal (Science Art Gallery Publications, 1996) p 133
* note by Zeynep Günal
[About the 2016 Neşet Günal Symposium *]
We should / you should look at his PAINTINGS again.
We will all see how the Anatolian people are brought onto the canvas. There is no need to repeat the importance of the symposiums held on behalf of the masters. I believe such important events should continue to be organised