We met with Selma Parlor, who lives and produces in London and draws us into the world of abstract photography with colors and geometric forms …

We met with Selma Parlor, who lives and produces in London and draws us into the world of abstract photography with colors and geometric forms.

Selma Parlor’s works have been exhibited at Saatchi Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts so far. You may have come across Pi Artworks stand in Istanbul before, “Activities for the Abyss” was held in 2020. Thames & Hudson chose him as one of the 100 painters of the future. She is known for her oil paintings that look like they were drawn in pencil or that give the impression of a print. The characteristic bright color units in Parlor’s work include carefully shaded stripes, schematic areas, and examples of tactile surfaces. Together we dive into the world of colors and inspiration.

You have an artistic practice that is entirely based on colors. What is the magic of colors?

Colors are wild. The main reason for my great admiration for other artists is mostly due to their mastery of using colors. In Georges Seurat’s photographs, the colors are not blended with each other, but when you look at them, you see it that way. Colour; depends on light, surface, application, viscosity, transparency or opacity. Along with Van Gogh’s greens, eyes definitely look for orange. Monet taught us to see color before the line. Seurat makes use of those color ranges. Questions about color keep me up and running. Its stunning effects surprise me every time. It’s amazing how one color can change the effect of another.

Can we call your works abstract art?

Abstract photography converges around the idea of ​​real forms, as opposed to photography’s ability to represent three-dimensional space. While I continue with a truncated depth of field in my works, I do not remove the illusion. The reason why I approach my photographs diagrammatically is based on the mathematical and architectural knowledge I have learned. The illusion is that I schematize ideas through my heavily (but equally) bands of shaded color. While the contradictory shading revived the task of the cubists, after Mondrian the shadows became more alien to the modernists.


The geometries at the center of your works remind me of architecture. Who are the architects that inspire you?

Certainly, many architectural examples inspire me, from brutalist architecture to ornate structures reminiscent of 18th century English castles. My favorite is Giotto’s monastery Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padua, Italy. It was built around 1303. The exterior is completely covered with bricks. It is a very long but elegant building with enormous frescoes. Giotto also introduces existing instruments to us from a different perspective by creating illusions with trompe l’oeil. It blurs the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, architecture and photography. Money was no problem for his employer, who asked Giotto to do the job. Well then why do you think Giotto didn’t use real and impressive marbles? Because at that time the minister would not be so excited. (In the middle, a note to the enthusiast; the chapel houses a cycle of frescoes by Giotto and is considered an important masterpiece of Western art. In 2021, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering 14th-century fresco cycles, including eight historic buildings in downtown Padua. Listed as Heritage Site.)

Selma Parlor creates different ways of seeing with her works for us viewers. We emerge from architectural, virtual and spatial explorations thanks to its diagrammatic approach.

After looking at your work for a while, the depths and states on it are about to take you to a different dimension. Are you working on them thinking about where they will be displayed?

Until today, I mostly used architecture in my works exhibited in the main dining room of House of Saint Barnabas in Soho Square. I worked by considering the panels in the Rococo style from the 1700s. Using the trompe l’oeil method, I created an illusion amid the shadows of the reliefs and my canvases. The color of the walls can absorb a lot of color. This provides a different background for my color photographs.

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Which artists have an influence on your work?

I really like the world created by Frank Stella, Agnes Martin, Robert Mangold, Jonathan Lasker and Tomma Abts and I benefit a lot from their sentences. However, the point that separates me from the artists I was influenced by is that my works are pristine, their surfaces are always softer and they create a feeling of contact with the individual.

What do you think is the most effective thing that art can do?

I always liken art to electrical outlets. Because it allows you to interact and connect. On one side is the idea, on the other is the material. In the space between the two, that fascinating thing happens.

Which stands do you want to see the most this summer?

Raphael, which will last until July 31 at The National Gallery in London, and Kawanabe Kyōsai, which will continue until June 19 at the Royal Academy of Arts in the city, again…

Selma Parlor’s work is on the wall of the main dining room of the House of Saint Barnabas.

What are your other favorite spots in London? What would you recommend us?

I love the little parks in the city centre, and London is brimming with them. I wish each of these parks were open to the public and had lots of benches to sit on. If you ask in terms of art, visiting non-commercial art galleries is always more stimulating to me. Palfrey and Coleman Projects on the south side of the river are my favourites.

What’s next?

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I have a booth at Dio Horia Gallery in Athens in September. I am so glad to be back in town. Also, I have two solo stands on top of each other. Soon after, I will have a booth at Pi Artworks London in October.

Interview: Aykun Taşdöner

Taken from ELLE Turkey June 2022 issue.

About the author

Steve Parker

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