The nude figure looks away from the viewer, seemingly keeping to herself. Adorned with the elaborate crown of a Balinese traditional dancer, the model’s chaste, reserved stance contrasts with her frank, revealing nudity. Titled “Charm,” the model has her back and gaze turned away from the viewer onto an unseen horizon.
“The models are ethereal and fade into the background from the waist down, gradually coalescing as they move up to the head,” explained Indyra, the painter behind this artwork. “After all, the crown is the pinnacle of knowledge and spirituality, among other things. That is the element that makes us human and keeps us apart from the animals.”
But Indyra’s spiritual musings are only some of the themes that she’s exploring in “Midlife,” a collection of her paintings currently on display at Dia.lo.gue Artspace in Kemang, South Jakarta. As the title and works indicate, “Charm” and other paintings like “Framed” and “Romantic Dialogue” take on the 56-year-old’s exploration of age through the female body, particularly her own.
“The paintings in “Midlife” stem not only from my age and the issues that middle-aged women go through, but also the internal upheavals of my body, whether they be hormonal or emotional. As such, they come about almost spontaneously,” Indyra said. “Most people, including my friends, are intimidated by middle age because they are apprehensive about aging or even believe they are getting nearer to death, but I embrace middle age wholeheartedly.”
This is apparent in candid works like “Sapphire.”
Indyra didn’t shy away from depicting middle age in the model, as seen in the folds of her stomach and her hunched-over back.
On the other hand, the pensive, graceful model in the painting “Intersection” seems to raise the obvious question posed by many middle-aged men and women, namely “where do we go from here.”
Regardless of the premises that she takes, Indyra explained that nudity gets her point across better than most mediums. “When you are nude, you have nothing to hide. You can’t hide your age or blemishes, as there’s nothing to cover,” said the Yogyakarta Indonesian Fine Arts Academy (ASRI) alumnus, who previously exhibited her work in cities like Jakarta, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
“I aim for honesty when I make nudes, as that is harder and yet more vital than portraying people solely out of eroticism,” she added. “I also chose nudes because I have to be precise with their anatomy. The honesty that I aim for doesn’t give me any room for fantasizing the body, as it would veer from the points that I’d like to convey.”
But most of all, she explained, the exhibited paintings in “Midlife” represent how she has reconciled with the current circumstances in life.
“There’s much to look forward to as I get to my next phase, like when I’m 60 or something. For me, there’s still infinite possibilities in life and plenty of room to reinvent myself,” Indyra said.
The collections in “Midlife” culminate Indyra’s exploration of the female form over the past 20 years.
They also came about from her growing consciousness of her body, an awareness that she says freed her from the need to cover herself up.
Most of all, the nudes, in their contemplativeness or dynamism, is Indyra’s work reflect her premise that the journey of her life is a never ending story.
‘Midlife’ Through Oct. 27 Dia.lo.gue Artspace Jl. Kemang Selatan No. 99A South Jakarta Tel. 021 719 9671 www.dialogue-artspace.com