Watching the Glimmering Stars in Glenda Sutardy's Solo Exhibition


DECEMBER 15, 2015

Jakarta. The night sky has always been an object of admiration for Glenda Sutardy since her childhood, a time she spent on the southern coast of Australia. The artist, who has been actively working for more than two decades and now divides her time between Indonesia and the land down under, perceives the glimmering stars high up above as the key to understanding the universe and its mysteries.

These luminous spheres are also the subjects of her latest painting exhibition, which is currently on display through to Jan. 10 at Ruci Art Space in Senopati, South Jakarta. 

Titled “Stella Effercio” — Latin for “Star Stuff” — the independent show displays Glenda’s colorful canvases that are moving and at times transcendental.

Intended as a continuation from her show last year, “Stella Imber” at Bandung’s Salian Gallery, the exhibition this time features a slew of mainly square paintings that appear to draw viewers into an alternative universe. 

Each artwork depicts shimmering grids and star-like objects, which represent the artist’s interpretation of the cosmic layers found in our universe. Inside a pitch-black room at the art space, two paintings dominated by shades of black and blue appear as if they were glowing in the dark. 

One of them, titled “Forever and Ever,” catches viewer’s attention with a circular blue symbol set against a grid pattern — its mellifluous paint layers evoke an awe-inspiring three-dimensional look.

The 'Stella Effercio' painting series reflects the artist's obsession with stars and the eternal grid in the universe. (Photo courtesy of Ruci Art Space)

Other exhibited paintings are also dominated by Glenda’s portrayal of grids, albeit rendered in more vibrant shades. “A Wonderful Time” lives up to the name with its bright fuchsia background that are dotted with wax in each grid intersection. A similar vibe is also present in “The Grid Sublime,” which pleasantly juxtaposes an array of bright colors.

Meanwhile, the “Star Fall” series is inspired by Glenda’s childhood memory of witnessing Comet Bennett that only passes the solar system once in every 1,770 years. Her encounter with the celestial phenomenon informs these minimalist paintings which illustrate the comet as a flashing white object.

The spiritual aspect of “Stella Effercio” is clearly evident from the techniques Glenda employed to create her pieces. According to the exhibition’s curatorial writing, the artist meditatively applied a mix of polymer and oil paints and Japanese mineral pigments called Nihonga in order to produce sublime layers and textures on her canvas.

“I express myself through paint more than any other media,” Glenda said. “After becoming excited and inspired by ideas, the dance of creating weaves a complex mix of excitement, meditation, intellectual rigor and finally satisfaction.”

Compared to Ruci’s previous shows this year — ranging from Oomleo’s pixel art to Kinez Riza’s photographs — this painting exhibition serves more as a tribute to the tactile art genre, which seems to gradually lose steam among younger contemporary artists. 

But as Glenda’s works show, painting remains an ever-relevant and effective medium through which an artist can express her vision — and simultaneously cast a spell on its audience.

Stella Effercio Through Jan. 10, 2016 Ruci Art Space Jalan Suryo No. 49, Senopati, South Jakarta Open Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.