creative art & writing studio

Recent Works by Jumaadi

Jumaadi’s subject matter since the beginning of his career as an artist have always  included natural phenomena such as clouds, storm, rain, and fog. Sometimes one sees an outline of a leaf superimposed or the trunks of trees. Every now and then human figures are framed on the foreground, alone or as pairs of lovers. Fragments of text add another layer of meaning both as text (in Indonesian or in English) and as an abstract visual element, bringing to mind a similar quality in the highly spiritual works of the New Zealand painter Colin McMahon. Other subjects include water buffaloes, erupting volcanoes, bicycles and simple rectangular shapes with rounded
edges.

Drizzly. 2011 Acrylic on Board. Courtesy of the artist

Drizzly. 2011 Acrylic on Board. Courtesy of the artist

I wonder about these motifs in his work and is reminded that Jumaadi’s interest in environmental issues preceded his career in the arts. Going as far back as 1994 before he moved to Australia, he worked as an activist for an NGO called Pusat Pendidikan Lingkungan Hidup Seloliman (Seloliman Environmental Education Centre). I also remember his journey back to his hometown in Sidoarjo in East Java in 2009, to coordinate art workshops for the displaced children of the Lapindo Mud Disaster.

I preface this post with these facts because I feel that though these paintings are not political, they are informed by a longstanding concern, a deep emotional investment and connection to the environment; a kind of pantheism even. In one of our conversations he mentions that ‘Islamic teaching is to find god on the creations. That’s fundamental of environmental awareness’.

These are not easy paintings. They are difficult aesthetically in that the palette consists of muted gouache or acrylic washes of blacks, greys, blues and browns with scumblings of white – which strangely makes them appear at times luminous but many times muddy. Formally he has two distinct arrangements. He either works on individual pieces on board or serially on small parchments of paper. He has described the latter as part of a daily practice – a form of meditation with material that brings him psychic relief, without which he finds it difficult to function during the day. The second arrangement is now familiar to us through the years – smaller paintings on paper organised intuitively on a grid which resembles a storyboard but also as frames within a frame with some parts of the imagery spilling across multiple frames. One can thus read the images sequentially or holistically in alternating fashion; or from a distance, simultaneously all at once. As is fitting in an ecologically aware practice, the works’ material footprint is humble – one can easily imagine cradling one of the small paintings on one hand.  Of which he says, “I paint small because that’s a personal thing, like a wallet, something special, like a gift. I’m not interested in overwhelming people. You can see the power of God through the sublime.”

 Cakrawala 2011 Gouache on Paper. Courtesy of the artist

Cakrawala 2011 Gouache on Paper. Courtesy of the artist

The horizon line is ever present in many of the individual small works which makes up the grided whole and also in the individual larger works on board. He says that this come from his direct contact with the Australian landscape through repeated visits to Alice Springs, Hill End and Broken Hill over the years. The impression one gets from the paintings however is not that of a painter that is awed by an expansive landscape or the grandeur of nature but of one who feels he belongs to it, and feels a part of it.

“Pause”, Jumaadi’s upcoming solo at Watters Gallery opens on February 8 at 6 pm and runs till February 28. In contrast to the concept of taking a breather indicated by the title, these series of new works was developed during a very busy schedule of back to back international residencies undertaken in Leiden (Holland), Northern China, Bali and Kuala Lumpur. An artist talk and series of performances are also slotted for March with artists Ruark Lewis and Jason Wing at DNA Projects in Chippendale.

 

Meng-shu You @ White Heat Exhibition. Manly Art Gallery & Museum. Australian Ceramic Triennale Sydney
Writing
Meng-shu You @ White Heat Exhibition. Manly Art Gallery & Museum. Australian Ceramic Triennale Sydney
Recent Works by Jumaadi
Writing
Recent Works by Jumaadi
Max Lieberman – Anubhava @ Flinders Street Gallery. March 6 – 24, 2012
Writing
Max Lieberman – Anubhava @ Flinders Street Gallery. March 6 – 24, 2012
Take 5 Interview: Zoe Keramea
Writing
Take 5 Interview:  Zoe Keramea
Phaptawan Suwannakudt: Not for Sure @ the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia for the 18th Biennale of Sydney
Writing
Phaptawan Suwannakudt: Not for Sure @ the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia for the 18th Biennale of Sydney
Home and its Discontents: Rebecca Shanahan + Damian Dillon (Interzone) @ UTS Gallery and Alex Wisser @ ATVP Gallery
Writing
Home and its Discontents: Rebecca Shanahan + Damian Dillon (Interzone) @ UTS Gallery and Alex Wisser @ ATVP Gallery
Take 5 Interview: Helen Feng from Chinese Band Nova Heart
Writing
Take 5 Interview: Helen Feng from Chinese Band Nova Heart
Brushing Up On Asian Art
Reviews
Brushing Up On Asian Art
A Sorrow full of Happiness and The Happiness of Sorrow
Reviews
A Sorrow full of Happiness and The Happiness of Sorrow
1001 KARAOKE SONGS TO SING BEFORE I DIE – My Way by Elvis Presley
In-Progress, Motion, ONE-OFFS
1001 KARAOKE SONGS TO SING BEFORE I DIE – My Way by Elvis Presley
Fears & Descents
Gallery 4a Asia-Australia Art Centre, MIFA Gallery Melbourne, Mr. Jason Yeap OAM
Art Installations, ONE-OFFS
Fears & Descents
Bones
Bones
Claudio Javellana Fashion Show
Claudio Javellana Couture
Photography
Claudio Javellana Fashion Show
A School for Far Lap
Catherine Croll, The City of Sydney, Cultural Partnerships Australia,
Art Installations, ONE-OFFS, Writing
A School for Far Lap
Resillience
Cementa, Cross Arts Projects, ALex Wisser, Jo Holder
Art Installations, Multiples
Resillience
Rainbow Room
Art Installations
Rainbow Room
Happy as a Kite
DNA Projects Chippendale, David Corbett
Art Installations, Multiples, Writing
Happy as a Kite
1001 KARAOKE SONGS TO SING BEFORE I DIE – Radiohead Fitter Happier
In-Progress, Motion, ONE-OFFS
1001 KARAOKE SONGS TO SING BEFORE I DIE – Radiohead Fitter Happier
1001 Karaoke Songs to Sing Before I Die – I’ll Be Seeing You
Labayen Dance Company, Cultural Center of the Philippines
Motion, ONE-OFFS
1001 Karaoke Songs to Sing Before I Die – I’ll Be Seeing You
Some Lights Never Go Out
Fogg Productions Pty. Ltd
Collaboration, Motion
Some Lights Never Go Out