Artisan Maryam Turkey Creates Functional Works of Art with an Architectural Edge
The Iraqi native’s new light sculptures and mirrored paintings are now on view at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Manhattan
“History plays a big role in my practice,” says Maryam Turkey, whose functional works of art have a topographic quality inspired by the terra-cotta architecture of her native Iraq. Now based in Brooklyn, she developed her method while a resident at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, an opportunity that helped earn her a spot with Silver Art Projects, an arts incubator situated within 4 World Trade Center. “Aside from the large studio space, my favorite part about being on the 28th floor was the eye-level sun,” she says. “There’s a constant play of light and shadow.”
This daily dance has influenced her latest pieces, on view at Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s Manhattan exhibition “The New Guard: Stories from the New World,” through January 22, 2022. Showcased are her rectilinear light sculptures and mirrored paintings, all coated in an amalgam of paper pulp, plaster, and resin slicks. Nods to her war-torn home country are very much apparent. “I chose to add brass rods in my newest work to structurally hold the piece where it needs to be,” Turkey says, “but they also represent the rebar that are exposed when a building is in the process of being built or destroyed.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2021 Winter Issue under the headline “Material Goods.” Subscribe to the magazine.