Deborah Semel Demirtas
4096. Sokak 5/1, Turgutreis-Bodrum/Muğla, TURKEY
Tel: 0536 494 81 35

Sanatta Yeterlik (Proficiency in Art, equivalent of Ph.D and MFA), 2006. Hacettepe University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Painting Department. Ankara, Turkey. Thesis: “Decorative Elements in Installation Art: Crossing the Border between Fine and Folk Art”
MFA (Art), 1991. Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, MD.
Assistantships: Figure Drawing, Ceramics
BFA (Painting, Printmaking) 1983. Washington University, St Louis, MO.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

“Homesickness” (installation), Şevket Sabancı Cultural Center, Bodrum, November 2014
“Test” (installation), Atatürk University Cultural Center, Erzurum, May 2014
İbramaki Art Gallery, Kuşadası, August 2013
Idart Gallery, Bodrum, July 2013
D-Marin Art Gallery, Turgutreis-Bodrum, TR, September 2011
Idart Art Gallery, Bodrum, TR, January 2011
Ayna Gallery, Bodrum, TR, August 2010
Gumusluk Municipal Art Gallery, TR, September 2007
“Inside Cotton” (installation) Fatma Suat Orhon Museum, Söke, TR, November 2006
“Bodrum, Bodrum: A Game of Skill,” (installation), “Partners in Crime” outdoor exhibition, Bodrum Milta Marina, August 2006
Gumusluk Municipal Art Gallery, TR, September 2006
“Going Fishing,” (installation) Avanos/Nevsehir, TR, 2002
“Nü-Nar: The Myth of Persephone,” (installation) Ansan Art Gallery, Antalya, TR, 2000
“2000 Women”, “Nü-Nar: The Myth of Persephone,” (2 installations) British Council, Ankara, 2000
“Handmade Dreams,” State Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Ankara, 1998
“As if By Magic,” Dost Art Gallery, Ankara, 1996
Women’s Library and Research Center, Istanbul, 1995

Selected Group Exhibitions:
“Sea in the Middle,” Turgutreis Municipality Şevket Sabancı Culture Center, September2013
Collection Exhibition, Idart Gallery, Bodrum, 2011
“Aegean Crossing” and “Life at Sea“(2 installations), in “An Istanbul Biennial Parallel Event in Bodrum,” Mariners’ Association-Bodrum Municipality, 2009
“Grocers,” (installation), Art Windows, Turgutreis, 2009
“6 Landscapes with Plastic Bottles” (installation), in Fabrikart 2. International Symposium, Mustafapaşa/Nevşehir, 2008
Amulet, Yalıkavak, TR, September 2008
“Painting of the Week,” public art project at the Bitez Flea Market, Bodrum, TR, 2007
“First International Mail Art Exhibition in Greece,” Elassona, Feb.-Mar. 2006
“Maps of Belief,” Galeri Sanatyapım, Ankara, TR, 2005
“Ankara Painters,” Contemporary Art Gallery, Ankara, 2001
Untitled Installation, in “Sanart Art and Environment Symposium,” METU, Ankara, 1997
“Berkeley Arts Center Annual,” Berkeley, California, USA, 1993
“Pacific Rim International Print Exhibition,” University of Hawaii, Hilo, USA, 1993
“Ex Votos y Ofrendas,” Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, California, USA, 1991
“The Path of Progress,” University of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 1990
“Visual AIDS,” Contemporary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, 1990

Selected Presentations:

Mimar Sinan University, Center for the Research and Practice of Anatolian Culture and Art (AKSAM) Symposium: Spatiality / Simultaneity in the Production of Art. Presentation: “You Can’t Do That Here! Perceptions of Artistic Practice in Public and Private Spaces,” Istanbul May 12, 2015.

Erzurum Ataturk University, American Dreams and Fantasies: the 36th International Conference of the Association of American Studies in Turkey. Invited Artist, Presentation: “A Story of American Landscape Artists (with Chickens and Fantasies),” May 14-16, 2014.

Hacettepe University, Faculty of Literature, Department of American Culture and Literature, Presentation: “2 Stories+1 Activity,” Ankara, March 27, 2014.

Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Faculty of Art and Design, Department of Visual Communication and Design, Presentation and Workshop: “Text In/As Art,” March 24, 2014.

Turgutreis Municipality Şevket Sabancı Cultural Center, Eco-Siklet 2013 Design Workshop. Presentation: “Marine Transportation in Visual Art,” September 4, 2013.

Doğuş University, Faculty of Art and Design, Symposium: Art and Aesthetics in the Media. Visual Presentation:  “How Art is Presented in the Press… Or Is It?” Istanbul, November 15-16, 2007
“A Few Points About Migrant Artists,” “What if…?” Conference: Representing the Other in Images of Identity and Difference, Speakers: Gülsen Bal, Beral Madra, Prof. Dr. Jale Erzen, Deborah Semel. State Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Ankara, 6-15 April 2002

“Postmodernism in Art and Literature,” Kadir Has University, Department of American Culture and Literature, Parallel Studies Center, Istanbul, February 2001.

“Media and Culture: The Great American Landscape as Seen on TV,” Association of American Studies in Turkey, Turkish-American Association, Ankara, April 2000.

“The Great American Landscape Painting, by Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid,” Third English Literature Conference for Mediterranean Universities, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 4-5 May, 2000.

“The Beginning of Inclusion and the End of Understanding: Language in Postmodern American Installation Art.” Second English Literature Conference for Mediterranean Universities, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, May, 1999.

“Issues of Identity in Contemporary Turkish Art,” Slide presentation, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California, 16 August 1996.

Selected Publications:
“Looking Down on it All, Artists at the Mall.” Turkish Daily News, 9 August 2006. (

“Take off for the Land of Thought with Flying University.” Turkish Daily News, 28 March 2006. (

“Ancient Turkey at the Met.” Turkish Daily News, 8 November 2005. (

“Istanbul as a lived reality: Musings of an ‘Art Professional’ on an International Spectacle.” Turkish Daily News, 25 October 2005. (

“A Sentimental Education: The Professional Artist at the Turn of the 20th Century).” 20. Yüzyıl’da Estetik ve Sanat (Aesthetics and Art in the 20th Century). Ed. Ipek Türeli, (Ankara: Sanart) 2002. (

“The Beginning of Inclusion and the End of Understanding: Language in Postmodern American Installation Art.” Literary Studies: Beginnings and Ends. Eds. Nicholas O. Pagan and William S. Haney II. (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America) 2001.

Teaching Experience:
Izmir University of Economics, part-time visiting instructor, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Communication Design, Fall 2007. Printing Technologies (serigraphy).
Bilkent University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture, Visiting Instructor, 1994-1997.
Classes taught: Drawing 1, Drawing 2, Visual Perception and Color Theory, Studio Arts Seminar (a theoretical and practical introduction to contemporary art)
San Francisco State University, Fort Mason Arts Center, instructor, 1993.
Course taught: Woodcut Printing
Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley, CA, instructor, 1992.
Course Taught: Collagraph (acid-free intaglio) Printing

Professional Background, Related Activity
Artist’s Statement
The majority of my work is comprised of small pieces in assorted media (collage, pastel, etc.), which may be exhibited as part of a traditional, wall-hung two dimensional body of work or as part of an installation. I am interested in using the plastic arts to investigate ideas surroundng the concepts of “landscape” and “identity” (i.e., the relationships we have with the world and with each other). I am particulary interested in the role of the visual arts in conceptualizing the world. I believe that making art provides us with a means of coming to know our place in the world and that sharing art provides us with opportunities for interactions of exchange, empathy and education with those around us.
Teaching Philosophy
As an educator I believe in ‘leading from behind’. While on the one hand I try to provide students with basic knowledge and traditional studio skills, on the other hand I introduce students to experimental as well as traditional, contemporary as well as historical methods and ideas in an effort to widen their horizons and ensure that they are capable of investigating and questioning with self-confidence those areas that are of interest to them. I also believe in the need for a balanced curriculum in which my own teaching activity supports the overall educational activities and goals of the faculty.
Curatorial Experience
Experienced in organizing group exhibitions on a local and national level.
Author of a weekly column on art, culture and tourism in the Bodrum Peninsula that appeared in the Hurriyet Daily News in 2005-2006. Wrote features on the cultural activities of the British Council Turkey as editor of their 3-monthly newsletter from 2001-2004. Provided support to actvities of various NGOs by writing news articles, press releases and grant proposals.
“Social Responsibility”
Founding member and president of the Board of Directors of the Catal Island Art, Environment and Tourism Association. The association aims to support sustainable tourism on the Bodrum Peninsula, mainly through the organization of awareness-raising activities aimed at children and youth. Organizer of the ‘Eco-Siklet’ sustainable design/sustainable tourism competition for university students (2010-2013).

References available upon request.

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