Painting : Cowboy (Irsam - 1981)

Title : "Cowboy"

Artist : Irsam

Year : 1981

Acrylic on canvas.

Dimension : 100 x 150 cms.

With stylised ornaments and decorative elements in all parts, the painting “Anak Gembala” (1981) shows a strong decorative style. The trees are adorned with ornaments and decorations resembling the shape of a fan. The plains and the footpath is filled with details, even the sky and the sun. All decorative details become more expressive with a texture that gives rhythm to the painting.

In Indonesian modern art, such decorative style was prevalent in 1970-80’s. Along with Expressionism, Abstract, Surrealism, or more personal styles, the painters existed in a realm of lyrical expression. This tendency summarises the universal humanist aesthetic that emphasise personal freedom and plurality of expression.

Irsam was a strong Indonesian decorative painter of that period. The rhythmic and poetic expression in his works stressed the symbollic values of agrarian society. He was close to the theme of rural scenery, mother and child relations, and Javanese mythology, reflecting his deep engagement in the cosmology of tradition, which served as his life’s foundation.