he newest exhibition at UNT on the Square features four different artists from three continents who create works together from unique materials.
Collaborate4, running March 10 (Friday) – April 8 (Saturday), will bring in artists who have combined their skills in enameling, jewelry-making, metalsmithing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. The opening reception is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 10 (Friday).
One of the artists, University of North Texas associate professor of metals and jewelry James Thurman, is looking forward to the exhibition, especially since they will use the gallery space to create an installation that they will begin creating a few days before the exhibition. They will be able to reconfigure the space to make it suit their needs.
“It’s like being a kid again and having a giant sandbox to play in,” Thurman said.
The four artists often work together, with one artist starting a project then passing it along to another artist. The group also uses one of Thurman’s creations – Thurmanite, which is material made out of paper and epoxy resin that looks similar to "plasticized wood" and features layers of colors.
For example, UNT alumna and Turkish-based artist Nur Balkir will draw an image on Thurmanite. Her drawings are also used in pins, which are etched on copper and completed through metalwork and enameling made by either one of the two other artists – Umut Demirgüç Thurman (who is married to James Thurman) and Ayşegül Türemen.
The materials may be unique, but Balkir is often inspired by everyday objects.
“When mundane subjects such as little houses or clotheslines become part of the delicate metalsmith or Thurmanite pieces, the results are what are desired for -- conflicts and contrasts … like life itself,” said Balkir, who is assistant professor of graphic design at Kadir Has University and lives in the European side of Istanbul.
Türemen, a jeweler who lives on the Asian side of Istanbul, is also inspired by everyday objects, such as rocks, stones and birds, to create her jewelry.
“These inspirational tools allow me to delve into creating new forms of thoughts and emotions,” she said.
Demirgüç Thurman, a native of Turkey who earned her MFA at UNT, will be showingfabricated and/or enameled jewelry. She likes to make lockets, inspired by pocket watches and little containers that incorporate patterns, colors and forms found in the environment.
“While working in my studio, I respond to the processes and materials in playful and intuitive ways,” said Demirgüç Thurman, who is an instructor at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul. “The metalwork I create usually has a story behind to tell.”
The artists started working together in 2013, although they were friends before through their studies at UNT and other connections. The group’s first exhibition was in May 2013 in Turkey. The Thurmans often travel to Turkey to participate in workshops and they also run UJ Design Studios in Denton together.
All of the artists said they work well with each other during the collaborative process.
“Each person in the group has unique abilities and approaches and when the differences are merged, the results can be great,” Balkir said. “We enjoy exploring new ideas and continuously search for ways of pushing the limits of the medium.”