Ethnic Faces, an exhibition of portrait paintings by long time Ubud resident Wolfgang Widmoser opened 25 February at Bali Bohemia, Nyuh Kunning, Ubud. The featured works, made over the past couple of years, have been taken from a series inspired by his time spent with the indigenous inhabitants of the Selayar Islands, South Sulawesi in May, 2015. Widmoser’s recent paintings (2016-2017) however, are re workings of an older succession of African portraits.
Born 1954 in Munich, Germany, as a child Widmoser painted, played music and studied architecture and philosophy, his father, an architect was a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. In 1973-1978 he studied classical, Renaissance painting techniques with Ernst Fuchs in Vienna, Austria, and then with the famous master of surrealism, Salvador Dali in Cadaques, Spain.
Widmoser’s technique, that resembles hyperrealism yet he dubs, ‘fantastic realism’, does not merely represent the physical. Through his close-up and distorted interpretations of his subjects faces, especially their enlarged eyes, he ventures beyond what is visible creating a window into the their soul.
Lead photo, top: Warrior. Above: Gnome
Every detail of their faces, every wrinkle and pore become transformed into imaginative landscape like scenarios. “To me all painting is abstract, an order of colored shapes on canvas through which I like to create illusions. A face is more than face, it is an archetype,” Wolfgang said. Widmoser offers the observer opportunities to perceive indigenous people from Indonesia and Africa, not as earthly inhabitants, yet as other worldly beings.
In 2007 his exhibition of fantastic Indonesian faces set in cosmic scenarios, Venus Rising, at Bentara Budaya Jakarta exposed his talents to the Indonesian art world. While Widmoser has exhibited in many European cities, Australia and the United States, during the past decade he has been quiet in Indonesia.
In 1973-1978 he studied classical, Renaissance painting techniques with Ernst Fuchs in Vienna, Austria, and with the famous master of surrealism, Salvador Dali in Cadaques, Spain. He is respected as the most accomplished painter of classical western techniques in the country. Widmoser’s presence is complimentary to the Indonesian modern and contemporary fine art scene.
Continuing until 25 March 2017
Jalan Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, Bali
Open Daily: 9am – 11pm
Words & Images: Richard Horstman – Art activist Richard Horstman (b.1964 Melbourne) first visited Ubud in 1986. The former sculptor is a journalist, writer, art tourism presenter and behind the scenes doer in Bali art scene. Dedicated to contributing to the development of Balinese and Indonesian art, he regularly contributes to the Jakarta Post on a range of art related topics and may be contacted at: email@example.com