Transitory states

© Rahma Wiryomartono Artwork

‘Swept Away’ Oil on Foam Board, 78cm x 50cm

‘Swept Away’ is a visualization of the state between life and death, based on the philosophy of Lao Tzu. What I gleaned from my research was that Lao Tzu emphasized the importance of living without resistance to the natural flow of life. This painting is built up on a series of his quotes:

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”

Since life exists as a “series of natural and spontaneous changes,” the state of living is symbolized by water, an element of change and flow. To contrast that, the afterlife is symbolized by the universe: it is above us, beyond our understanding, and full of mysteries. The composition is divided evenly between life and afterlife. The girl is in between, transitioning. Despite it all, her body is buoyant and weightless. She is merely floating without resistance, rising above from physical life. As she surrenders to the universe, the universe surrenders to her.




Lost scene from dreams

© Rahma Wiryomartono Artwork

‘Dreamscape’ Oil on Canvas, 74cm x 60cm

When starting ‘Dreamscape’, I had no final image in mind; it stands as the first freestyle piece that I’ve completed. Although I couldn’t explore potential concepts before starting the work, it manages to communicate the ideas that I had previously turned over when I was doing research for the above painting. Thus I consider the two pieces partners, each complementing the other in theme and style.

The cherry blossoms and waves symbolize short life cycles. This impermanence is contrasted by the universe, a fixed backdrop. Like cherry blossoms and waves, our life spans are startlingly short. Whole generations are swept away to be continually renewed and the cycle continues. Yet as the waves progress they merge with the background, representing the unity of everything that’s gone away.



A mixed masters exploration: Turner, Klimt and Van Gogh

© Rahma Wiryomartono Artwork

‘Rising Above the Sea in a Vibrant Dusk’ Oil on Canvas, 45cm x 45cm

This painting combines the works of J.M.W. Turner, Vincent Van Gogh, and Gustav Klimt. The background sunset scene is from ‘The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up’ by Turner, the moon is an iconic feature of ‘Starry Night’ by Van Gogh, and the figure is from ‘Medicine – Hygieia’ by Klimt. The assignment required that it be a self-portrait, so I substituted my face into the new composition.

I chose artists from different movements so that the synthesis of the three works would have an interesting aesthetic. This piece was one of the most enjoyable to paint due to the vibrancy of the colour palette and the fact that I was emulating the style of different artists. Having a set, rigid style in art is limiting since it restricts experimentation. By learning through Turner, Van Gogh, and Klimt, I was able to expand my own techniques and approaches to painting.




‘Of a Woman’ and ‘Lilies Against a Backdrop’

© Rahma Wiryomartono Artwork

‘Of a Woman’ Oil on Canvas, 27cm x 45 cm

© Rahma Wiryomartono Artwork

‘Lilies Against a Backdrop’ Oil on Canvas, 45 cm x 27cm


art 2014