Kei Kusuma, Best in Show V by RJH Berland
12 Inches of Sin V Best In Show Winner
The illustrator, graphic artist, and draftsman Kei Kusuma lives and works in Surabaya City, Indonesia. Entirely self-taught, Kusuma has come to be admired for his unique way of depicting fragility and eroticism as well as graphic beauty that mirrors the considerable artistic tradition of his home country, particularly in the command of line, curvilinear exposition and sculptural design. Made in 2015, the year of the sheep or ram, The Spoiled Ram is from a series of portraits of lovely young women poised in a world of delicacy, fantasy, intimacy, and ambivalence.
The ram is oft en a symbolic motif in art suggesting rebirth, regeneration, and sexual appetite. The subject, a wide-eyed young woman is surrounded by diaphanous clouds, transparent enough to reveal her full body, and abstract enough to evoke a sense of decorative play. There is a tenderness rather than explicitness of her most intimate parts, as well as a sense of humor and irony personified by the black laughing creature above. Kusuma’s beauty is lush, sinuous and delicate all at once, much is in the detail, a quiet rendering of soft lips contrasts with the linear outlining of the body. The slight of the artist’s hand is readable but entirely in a graceful manner, rather there is a soft gestural naturalness to the highly stylized image. She, The Spoiled Ram , emerges from a tangle of foggy tendrils and white clouds, set against a swirling night black. Two rams follow this sky goddess out of her celestial realm. Who she is remains, a mystery, the representation of the year, of a real person, an Egyptian or Sumerian deity, or an incarnation of a contemporary Hindu Goddess?
Nevertheless, she has a certain magic that seems to exist between the otherworldly and the fruit of the earth.
~ RJH Berland, Art Historian, New York
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