Thursday, January 24, 2008

Five Corners Two

On Words

Five Corners Two


Jakarta – With OnWords’ recent focus on all things arty and creative, I thought that today would be a wonderful time to invite the readers to an upcoming artists party and exhibition.

The aptly named 5 Corners 2 is the second annual show for five friends who happen to be Indonesia-based artists. This year the artists, Charles Schuster, Gwen Shackleton, David White, Neil Bunting and Jeanie Merila are displaying approximately 80 pieces showcasing myriad styles, techniques, influences and results at the JW Marriott Hotel in Mega Kuningan from November 22nd – 25th.

Schuster, an art teacher at Universitas Bina Nusantara and Monash University, is displaying work he has finished over the last four years. He writes, “My paintings are about the things I love: the sea, mountains, skin, tree bark, weather and, sometimes, the circus.”

I have yet to see any of Schuster’s pieces but am intrigued by the thought of an artist finding the miracle within such commonplace items such as skin and tree bark.

Shackleton, a Jakarta International School art teacher, says that she is influenced by colour, sentimentalism, and the Gestalt principles of perception. The latter explains how we unconsciously organize visual elements into unified wholes. An example of this occurs when we visualize four Pac-Man type shapes set up so that their mouths appear to delineate a rectangle. Our brains, seeing bits of the rectangle’s edges fill in the blanks giving us the sense of an entire shape that is not actually there.

Shackleton says, “I have no particular style of working, nor do I have a singular focus for subject matter – I paint when I am inspired by what I see, and I never know what, when, where or how that will happen – I merely react.”

Shackleton’s two meters by one, acrylic on canvas painting, Cirebon Sawah, Cirebon Rice Paddy, with its repetition and pattern makes excellent use of the Gestalt principles. More importantly to me, at a more animalistic level, its courageous bands of yellows, purples, greens and blues are simply beautiful.

She says about the work, “This is the largest work I have done to date and presented a great challenge to me in technique and scale. The colour scheme is complementary in its use of purple and yellow, but is only a slight exaggeration of the original intense hues seen at early evening on the harvested rice paddies of West Java.”

The second Jakarta International School representative, White has drawn on his experiences in Northern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and his current life in Indonesia for this year’s 5 Corners show. A figurative painter, White spent five years in Egypt and Zimbabwe exploring and creating depictions of their respective cultures before moving to Java a few years ago.

White says that he attempts to avoid the typical "photorealism" that is common to the figurative genre. Instead, the curly-topped artist veers toward interpretation through intense color selections, abstract mixtures, personality of the individual subject and their mystifying surroundings.

London-native Bunting, now a fortyish-something family man, revisits the influences of his youth with his My Punk Paintings 2007 collection. The Academic Colleges Group International School art teacher says that he is attempting to capture the “raw energy of late seventies ‘New Wave’ music through paint, pins and canvas. The album covers that inspire each image are a leading point into the painting, which, therein, has a life of its own.”

The pony-tailed Bunting adds, “It is interesting to me that this imagery and music derived from the UK is so popular with young people of Indonesia today. My paintings are created with a range of cheap, raw materials which are not usually combined together in paintings. I have used these materials because they seem fitting to a music form which drew its inspiration from urban and industrial living in the 1970s… I have deliberately aimed to subvert and challenge the rules of painting, as punk rock once rebelled against the rules of music.”

Another color-enthusiast, Merila, an Art & Design teacher at the Australian International School, has done much of her work En plein air, that is, in the open air.

Merila says, “My art is about using colour, light and textures to transform my world. The way light bounces off leaves, sand and sea in the afternoon sun, the broken reflections in water, or the translucent hues and textures on life ten meters below ocean waves. Works are en plein air paintings from Bali and Lombok as well as portraits of the undersea world.”

The Exhibition opens on Thursday, November 22 at 7 pm. There is an Artists’ Party on that Friday from 7 pm - 10 pm. The five artists will be on site throughout the weekend until the exhibition closes at 3:00 pm on Sunday, November 25. For further information please contact David White at 0813 857 00867 or Neil Bunting at 0813 1092 1265.

See you there,


This article was originally published Nov. 18, 2007 in The Jakarta Post.

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