Indonesian-born Winnie Sidharta Ambron pushes the boundaries of traditional watercolor painting by applying her classical training with a contemporary approach. As explained in her artist’s statement, Sidharta’s work “questions the foundations of techniques within painting, applying them to radical portraiture that examines, self-reflectively, the modes and the subject matter of traditional painting.”

After completing her undergraduate education both at Petra Christian University in Surbaya, Indonesia, and at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China, Sidharta graduated from The Ohio State University with a Masters of Fine Art degree. It was an exhibition at the OSU Urban Arts Space that Sidharta’s work caught the eye of gallery owner Michelle Brandt. “I was intrigued with just how technically well done the work was created in addition to the compelling imagery the artist was using,” Brandt said.

By layering saturated and textured pigment with transparent washes, Sidharta develops collage-like paintings that merge an idealized representation of a figure with abstract patterning to dissolve and camouflage the image. “Investigating the systems that underscore both the reading of pictures and the representation of figures has been an unceasing interest in my research and painting practice,” Sidharta says in her artist’s statement. “Fascinated by the mechanisms of photography and film, I utilize hypothetical montage through repetition and image sequencing.”

Brandt chose Sidharta’s painting titled Victorian Portrait for the Short North Viewpoints Mural Series because she felt it “could be quite engaging for the viewer,” she said. “I chose Victorian Portrait because I loved the idea of tying a seemingly “Victorian” portrait to the neighborhoods surrounding the mural. Also, the painting subject holds a light in her hand as if she’s lighting the way for visitors to the neighborhood. Finally, the gaze of the subject is quite intense. One would be hard pressed to not notice this woman on the exterior brick wall.”

From 4-5pm during the September 2014 Gallery Hop, Brandt will discuss Sidharta’s technique and what drives her work during the monthly Viewpoints Artist Talk series. The talk will be at Brandt-Roberts Galleries, located at 642 N High St.


– Michelle Gibson