Leyla Pekmen’s paintings are bold and bright, often utilizing color blocking and pointillism to create framing and texture. Her sculptures are vastly surreal and conceptual, embracing the mutable qualities offered by ceramics to create fluid and eccentric pieces. Most of Pekmen’s art centers around the concept of combining the simple pleasures of life with that of whimsy and storytelling. Themes around nature, landscapes, and travel are dropped into a fantastical narrative, often exploring the ideas of memory and comfort. Pekmen had her first solo show in Istanbul in 2021, and also participated in group shows, with her paintings being bought by international art collectors from around the globe.
She finds inspiration in Ottoman miniatures, often utilizing such styles in her paintings to create an enriching narrative. Her paintings and sculptures both revolve around creating this narrative scene, reflecting her identity as a storyteller. Whether that be through her snapshots of figures lolling on rolling ocean waves or her surrealist sculptures of indiscernible limbs intertwined together, each piece of art invites the viewer in as part of the story. There is detail in every corner and nook, and you can always find something new every time you come back to it.
Her fascination with using fantasy and whimsy in visual storytelling can be seen clearly in her ceramic sculptures. Through her dreamlike totem poles that trigger the imagination, she creates a story out of a single object. Each piece takes on a new meaning with each viewing, as each viewer projects their own connotations and interpretations onto the artworks. Meanwhile, her paintings are also reminiscent of postcards, both in their scenic style and in the capturing of a memory. They act as physical memorabilia for a state of mind, for something that we want to keep with us. Her work thus creates not only a scene, but invites viewers into a space that is almost intimate in nature. Her collection of work invites us to revisit our inner child, to let go and enter into a realm of fun. Through her eccentric collection of paintings and sculptures, Pekmen has created a mise-en-scene of joy and adventure.