The Skirt

Winnie Sidharta Ambron: Boundless

Image: Winnie Sidharta,  Crossing,  2019, Collage, watercolor, acrylic, and paper mounted on panel, Dimensions: 24 x25”

Image: Winnie Sidharta, Crossing, 2019, Collage, watercolor, acrylic, and paper mounted on panel, Dimensions: 24 x25”

“You and I are close, we intertwine. You may stand on the other side of the hill once in awhile, but you may also be me while remaining what you are and what I am not”
- Trinh T. Minh-ha. Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism

Boundless’ is an installation of wall paintings and collage pieces addressing identity,  and how to represent one’s position and cultural experience through painting. Inspired by the highly vigorous and refined textile traditions within Javanese vernacular style — most of which are executed by women — the patterns on the walls evoke a similarly organic and living quality balanced somewhere between the decorative and something more evocative. The pieces, though contained within themselves, extend into the space through these patterns, loosening the boundaries between them.  This constant expansion and contraction creates an environment where fragments and colors ’speak’ to each other. These fragments and edges draw forth excerpts of time, impressions of space, temperature and the metamorphosis of bodies as landscapes; a portrayal of collective history and emotive cultural experiences. The (female) bodies have been transformed into vast and unrestricted landscapes.
These pieces offer my interpretation of selfhood through the language of painting; a language that comes from my personal experiences of living in a diaspora, rediscovering identity, and learning to inhabit two worlds at once: the present and the past, internal and external, microscopic and macroscopic. In these works, I find an association with a body that I have become, something that is both inside and outside of the margins, a manifestation of that which is other.

Winnie Sidharta is a painter based in Queens, New York. Born and raised in a minority Chinese community in East Java, Indonesia, Winnie eventually relocated to the United States in 2010. She studied painting in Indonesia and in Beijing, China, where she lived and worked as an artist before moving to the United States to pursue a graduate degree in Painting and Drawing. She received her MFA from The Ohio State University and later taught in the Painting and Drawing Department before settling in New York City.

Winnie’s formative years were set against a complex cultural background— a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society imbued with religious pluralism— that shared an awareness of the long history of colonialism and the many revolts against it. She experienced directly and indirectly the fragile socio-political systems that manifested in the nation’s post-colonial search for identity.  This took the form of the eradication of ethnic and religious minorities during her upbringing. As a recent U.S. citizen, Winnie examines the experience of immigration and the kind of outsider complex it produces. This force is ever-present in her work as she continues to revisit her roots and build her identity as an artist.