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Artist and first-time author Duygu Kivanc offers readers a glimpse into the mysterious and exotic kingdom of Bhutan, where she lived from 1984 to 1987. Kivanc presents works inspired by her three years in Bhutan in narrative text and mixed-media pictures totaling 38 pages, making this a brief art book. In addition to paintings of the South Asian nation, the artist has included illustrations of her native Turkey as well as Hawaii and a more abstract work entitled "Peace." The artwork is somewhat stylized with characteristically solid elements flowing together to create the scene. The assembled paintings evoke a vivid sense of time and place. While Kivanc clearly experiments with various media, a strong aesthetic point of view is present in each composition too. A few of the best works can be compared with Gauguin in terms of their unnatural color palette and the use of flat interconnecting shapes. These works include "Child Carrying Child" and "Palace Gate Road." Readers who enjoy the style of David Hockney's landscapes will also enjoy "Hills" and "Through the Window" in which soft flowing swathes of fantastical colors evoke a panorama. The
subjects of the paintings are mostly landscapes, or women and children. Unfortunately, readers cannot always be sure that the colors in the originals
have been faithfully represented in the book. The occasional pixilation ("Paro Valley") or use of dark murky colors ("Village Scene" and "Entrance to the Dzong") gives the impression that some elements from the original paintings were not reproduced well. Sticklers for detail may lament that the original dimensions of the artwork aren't mentioned in the book. However, the text--while minimal--is straight to the point and fascinating.
Given its brevity, more of an art appetizer than a main dish.
Duygu Kivanc

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