Yasemin Oncu was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1990. She received her BA in Visual Arts from Sabanci University in Istanbul in 2012. She completed the Interdisciplinary Masters of Art, Media and Design Graduate Program at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario in 2016.
Yasemin's works 'demonstrate' how one can artistically subvert all kinds of moral degradation associated with the demonization of other. In her works, as a first-hand witness to recent dramatic political events involving excessive cruelty, she often uses the monster as a metaphor to problematize clash of extremes by introducing it as a third party to antagonistic conflicts of various kinds. Her monsters resist any classification built on hierarchic dual oppositions, and thereby confront any categorization based on moral judgment.
Her monsters and monster-like figures, which incorporate fear, desire, anxiety and fantasy are beyond good and evil. They are mirrors into which the viewers look to see their unconscious as if they are reading their dreams, which are, although sometimes wonderful, often cruel. These figures and the narrations which they are embedded regroup the brutal images of daily life without claiming that they show the reality.
Her paintings and drawings just join the spectacle with a view to raising a humorous critical sense about the deceptive nature of our daily encounters. Because of this, in her works, unlike in regular society or the media, the true-versus-false opposition melts into air, in that everything is true and false at the same time. All propagandistic messages in the news of broadcast media or in the images of politically charged postings in the social media lose their relevance.
2016 MFA, Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design, OCAD University, Toronto
2012 BA, Visual Arts, VACD, Sabanci University, Istanbul
Solo & Group Shows
2017 Untapped Emerging Artists, The Artist Project, Toronto
2016 Solo show, Monstrum, OCAD U Student Gallery, Toronto
2016 Other Worlds, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Toronto, (co-curated by Anda Kubis and Jana Macalik)
2016 Prescience, Luminato Festival, The Hearn Generating Station, Toronto
2016 Grad Ex, OCAD U Student Gallery, Toronto
2016 Solo show, de.monstra.tion, MFA Thesis Show, Gallery 50, Toronto
2015 Envelopment(s) Paths Taken and Not Taken, Robert Kananaj Gallery, Toronto
2014 Thresholds, OCAD University Graduate Gallery, Toronto
2012 136 square meter: 8 persona, FASS Art Gallery, Istanbul
2011 Collaborative project, Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, Gallery Baraz, Istanbul, (in collaboration with Imre Ozkoray)
2017 The 30 Most Exciting Artists in Toronto Right Now, Amy Grief, blogTO, Toronto
2017 The Artist Project: 3 Women to Watch, Shedoesthecity, shedoesthecity.com, Toronto (Interview)
2016 Other Worlds, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Published in Collaboration with OCAD University, Toronto
2016 Inside the Hearn: Previewing Luminato's Massive Makeover, Marcus Mitanis, Urban Toronto, Toronto
2016 De.monstra.tion: The Monster and the Demonization of Other, MFA Thesis, Yasemin Oncu, OCAD University, Toronto
2014 ZEPHYR Issue 3:Transmission, MFA Art Criticism and Writing, School of Visual Arts, New York
2011 Galeri Baraz Catalogue, Contemporary Istanbul'11, Istanbul
Awards & Grants
2017 1st Place Competition Award, The Artist Project, Toronto
2015 Graduate Scholarship Award, OCAD U, Toronto
2014 Dean's Scholarship Award, OCAD U, Toronto
2014 Lisa Visser Graduate Scholarship Award, OCAD U, Toronto