Born and raised in Turkey, Nihal started drawing and painting at a young age. Despite her demonstrated talent in art, she studied physics and nuclear engineering and worked in the software analysis field in the U.S. and Canada.
Nihal works in acrylic, oil and pastel at a large scale. She has been generating a consistent body of work as a professional artist and taking classes at the Washington Studio School in Washington, DC and the Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery in Glen Echo, MD since 2004. With the previous background in engineering, she knows how to model complex systems precisely and objectively, but painting has transformed her approach and provided the insight she needs to create complex and evocative artwork.
Creating a pastiche of light and shadow, Nihal often uses just a palette knife to apply paint to the canvas. She depicts a fragile but boldly expressive interplay between analysis and emotion, concealing and revealing her subject at once. Whether painting whirling dervishes, dramatic landscapes, or impressionistic figures, Nihal masks the known with the unknown and explores the transcendental.
"Through my intuitive painting process, I have learned self-transcendence In some ways knowing is the opposite of creativity, which can only come from not knowing. Each white canvas invites me to stretch my sense of wonder and the painting process starts with, 'what if...'”
Over her prolific past fifteen years, Nihal has amassed a body of over 700 paintings. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in over 150 shows. Nihal lives and works at NoMA NE Washington DC.