"Meticulously painted with exquisite details, is the overwhelming impression one has of the works of Widayat. Deceptively decorative, there is a profound meaning in the works of Widayat. "No modern Indonesian painter has given so much canvas space to the image of the tree, the forest, and the garden as Widayat; few have persisted so consistently in modern media in depicting the crowded and organically alive universe of the ancestors, with references to Islam, the Old Testament, and Buddhism, giving equal respect and presence in turn to each. Widayat has taken the traditional Indonesian principle of repetition further than most, applying it to motifs like fish, birds, vegetation, masks, and human beings, without losing the underlying feeling of an intense personalized processing of meaning and form which so much Indonesian decorative painting lacks." (Astri Wright, Soul, Spirit, and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, 1994, p. 94.)
Widayat's composition is always busy with no room left for space, filling up every inch of the canvas space with forms, colours or lines, a style reminiscent of the traditional Balinese works. Yet, unlike the Balinese works as suggested by the words of Astri Wright in the quotation, the artist never gives up his right to interpret his subjects and he always manages to give an existential dimension to the otherwise plain narration of the nature.
Another essential quality of the works of Widayat is the apparent decorative element with his compositional arrangement. "Widayat is inspired by nature in its myriad forms. These he treats like magical signs, to be repeated like mantra, creating decorative rhythms that pulsate across the canvas." (Ibid, p. 94)
Magic, nature, spiritual and decorative, these are the quintessential elements of the art of Widayat as illustrated by the present lot. The composition is so busy that one struggles to read a space in between the fish. The sense of repetition is only a perception as a closer reading would illuminates the uniqueness of each and everyone of the multiple subjects.