Baju Wijono’s portraits are overtly sexual expressionistic works that mingle gentleness and violence as symbiotic partners. The idealized faces of beautiful, athletic, angelic men are caressed, poked and struck by the artist’s brush in an attempt to possess the men on the canvas—to impose himself onto the painting with an immediacy and force that you can almost see happening. The bold, colorful paintings are at once serene and explosive, another paradox that can describe the painter himself.
He grew up in Paris, Berlin and Indonesia, the child of an Indonesian and French fashion designer and a Japanese-African American oil tycoon. His grandmother was a Cancan dancer at the Moulin Rouge and was his closest ally as a boy. It was a non-traditional childhood filled with freedom and openness; but shades of violence and trauma caused two years of muteness at the age of seven. It was only through painting that he could reveal his primal emotions and process the contradictions of his young life.
Baju’s work cannot be separated from his sexuality. He is pan-sexual and an exhibitionist. As a young man he was an exotic dancer and performed in pornographic films. He is also an athlete, accomplished in boxing and martial arts. His portraits and large abstract murals are amalgamations of these two physicalities--swirling, primal sex and aggression that perfectly mirror the artist’s energy.
Baju’s work is collected and shown internationally through the Frost Gallery in New York. His portraits are currently on display at D’Arcy Simpson Art Works in Hudson NY. He will be presenting and discussing his work at the Hudson gallery on xxx from 4-6pm.