Painting : Awaiting Woman (Sudarso - 1982)

Title : "Awaiting Woman"

Artist : Sudarso

Year : 1982

Oil on canvas.

Dimension : 120 x 80 cms.

This work by Sudarso tipifies the works of Yogyakarta painters, the sanggar (studio) period that promoted the paradigm of populist aesthetics. The painting “Wanita Menanti” (1982) powerfully depicts an expression of a naïve village woman. Supporting this expression is the curving seated posture of the body, signified by the kebaya and a long fabric, vittle wrapped in clothes, and the green and tranquil rural scenery. Sudarso’s refined realist style is renowned for his mastery in creating the female body. This painter is often identified with the naïve village women, however, always having beautiful legs.

The choice of visual idioms in the populist aesthetic paradigm varies widely indeed. The breath of people’s lives may be expressed through the dense human objects engaged in work activity, through the idiom of people’s art, through the village woman, the prostitute, even the ordinary downtrodden man who has no options in life but to be a beggar. It becomes an important historical note that the outlook of this aesthetic paradigm evolved from the emotive sentimentality and the hard socio-cultural conditions of the times. This way, the works of this artist actually reflects the soul of an emerging era.

This work can be understood as an absurd dimension of universal life. The anticipation for a certain obscurity is evident in the empty expression of the woman. The prevailing visual signifiers add weight to the turmoil of anticipation experienced by the ordinary people in the village. In this work, Sudarso was actually exploring the psychological side of the absurd rather than the beauty of the woman in waiting.