Wayan Suastama Swidji Gallery

Beauty of Transitions.

Featuring a collection of transitional works by Wayan Suastama. Article by Dewi Dian Reich, with a commentary by Sujana Suklu.

Often, we may experience feelings of restlessness and disorientation. We may feel discomfort as a sign of change, moving into unknown areas. You can say, this restlessness and discomfort signifies growth and evolution.  Artists go through phases and cycles in their creative process and it is through looking back at past bodies of works that they can be seen. The interconnectedness they have with each other as well as their part in future works.

Wayan Suastamas works go through cycles of changing aesthetics and different stylistic explorations. The Beauty of Transitions looks at eight particular works painted within a short window of time between two established visual styles by the artist. You can say these are interim pieces between his long-standing and dominant cubist aesthetics (evident in the Farmer Series) and the illustrative symbolism of his most recent works.

Images left to right, some examples of Wayan Suastamas changing visuals over the past decade.

Creative Transitions

Creative transitions are exciting phases,.. where the unexpected happens. As an artist searches to escape the overly familiar by delving into the unknown. We find some of the most unexpected expressions, where visual translations of abstract feelings are perhaps most free and uninhibited. 

He describes this period as the most uncomfortable because he does not yet know where it is going. These pieces were experimentations, and they tell a story of their own. Suastamas works before this are largely expressionist cubist in style, and his most recent works have settled into a symbolic illustrative aesthetic that explores traditional cultural roots. 

Beauty of Transitions Wayan Suastama
Faithful Friends, 2019

When we look at these pieces, they are dominated by bold lines. Expressive and unruly. With harsh contrasting inverted colours. They are repetitive, defining the figures within the compositions. As if to reassure that these figures are truly present within his painting. The edges have a roughness that echoes early German expressionism that exudes the same sense of emotional intensity. The emotional energy of angst and perhaps subconscious protest.

These paintings are works still throughout the later part of the Covid Pandemic. Tying in social discomfort with a very private expression of angst.

The Significance of Change

A commentary by Dr. Sujana Suklu

From my own subjectivity… As an artist, you will experience change all the time. With getting older there are changes in our psychological processes. Two years, within this time, I feel an artist must experience change. Whether it is thematic, stylistic or use of a medium,.. they have to change. Because it is driven by the needs of a changing and evolving psychology.

“I think it is perhaps unnatural for an artist to stay within the same theme or style for a prolonged duration. Regarding Wayan Suastamas works, I agree that there is a change in his treatment of form. A degree of sterilisation of the figures, deformation and significant thematic changes. Within these thematic changes, there may be influences from the surrounding environment which impacts his psychology.

“When there is restlessness in an artist there is a sign of something new. Bringing to the surface associations from within his subconscious imagination. This is driven by the changing needs in our psychology compelling one to channel this outward and creatively. This manifests in Suastamas works. There are still interesting residual cubist elements and symbolisms that are characteristic of Suastama still apparent in these works.”

Future Transitions of Beauty

I suspect Suastama will get even stronger in his works. Especially if he ventures to explore different mediums. Because mediums have their unexpected characteristics. Whether it be paper or wood. Perhaps he may find something unexpected there to enjoy for his experimental expressions.”

As a person who appreciates the journey of fellow artists, this is something that makes me happy and I can imagine Wayan Suastamas‘ progress moving forward. Because of his courage to tackle these changes,.. the courage and boldness to express new aesthetics and styles will manifest in future instances with increasing freedom and confidence.

Mata Hati by Wayan Suastama Beauty of Transitions Sawidji Gallery
Mata Hati by Wayan Suastama, 2021

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