Bos Cuek (Indifferent Boss) is a work that is highly illustrative of Masriadi's preoccupation in scrutinising and power relations between individuals. The protagonist on the left of the painting holds out a polished shoe to the other protagonist on the right of the picture who is seated. The power relations between these two characters are established clearly. Unambiguously denoted in the dialogue box exchange, the protagonist on the left is asking for a favour in return for having polished the shoe -
"Sudah mengkilat Bosss ... Ehm, ada proyek buat saya?" (Its already polished, Boss ... Em, do you have an assignment for me?
Befitting of his character as the indifferent boss, the protagonist on the right is unmoved. Lying in a bathtub, with a personal assistant behind him, his interest lies with his personal daily hygiene and does not extend to the protagonist on the left. To his female assistant, he orders
"Tolong gosokkan sebentar punggungku!" (Please rub my back!)
Masriadi has a penchant for pictorial compositions that eloquently disclose poignant moments in human relations. Bos Cuek is one such exemplary painting, allegorically capturing a slice of life where the imbalance in power relations between individuals is most clearly explicit.
The bathtub, the seaside setting and balustrade fence are all elements which are foreign to the everyday life of the artist in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Villages, speeding motorbikes and people dressed in traditional or casual attire are some of the most easily recalled imageries of the sleepy small-town city in the centre of Java, Indonesia. Masriadi's choice of setting is thus unusual. And yet, coming together as they do in this painting speaks of the artist's keen understanding and thoughtfulness in the extrapolation of pictorial imageries to create a suitable backdrop for the pictorial narrative to unfold.
Without any trace of emotion of personal agitation over such imbalances, Masriadi's work never breaches a self-defined sense of objective distance. The artist recently disclosed the following how the ideas and pictorial narratives in his paintings are derived - "The problem with painting is that it has to come from the inside. To start a piece requires a trigger, not just a model" (Seng Yu Jin and Wang Zineng, Masriadi: Black Is My Last Weapon, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2008, p. 62).
It is events in his personal life - be it the joys, trials and tribulations he has with other individuals in the artworld like gallerists, critics, writers, collectors or the circumstances of his family life - that serve as the basis by which he conceives, distils and finally visually render as pictorial compositions. Oftentimes, the paintings produced are clearly allegorical, as in the case of Bos Cuek. The indifferent boss in this painting could very well be a particular figure in the Indonesian artworld who is in a position of power and oppressing those around him.