Stanford Art Spaces
From January 23, 1998 to March 26, 1998, Stanford Art Spaces features an exhibit by two artists:
I Madé Moja
Paintings in Chinese Ink & Watercolor
Peter Silten
Lithographs and Pen & Acrylic Paintings

Dancers - © 1997 I Madé Moja

Rectangle Series No. 4 - © 1997 Peter Silten
Click here to see the review by Meredith Alexander that appeared in the Stanford Daily.

This exhibit is located on the Stanford University campus in four buildings: the Allen Center for Integrated Systems (CIS), Gates Computer Science, Terman Engineering Center, and Humanities and Sciences.    

I Madé Moja

I Madé Moja comes from the village of Batuan on the island of Bali, where he has a background in traditional watercolor painting. The son of a renowned artist, Moja has been painting for most of his life. In addition to his informal training, he attended a special school of the arts in Bali where he was exposed to western traditions and modern art forms such as graphic arts and illustration.

In 1981, Moja and his father, I Madé Budi, traveled to Jakarta with a group of Batuan artists to take part in an exhibition at Ancol, one of Indonesia's best known art centers. In the following two years, both father and son were invited to exhibit at the Lesung Gallery in Yogyakarta, Central Java, as well Pesta Kesenian Daerah Bali, a local art festival. In 1984, Moja emerged as a talented artist in his own right, when he was selected to represent Bali in the second annual Southeast Asian Youth Artists' Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was singled out a second time to participate in the Biennial exhibition at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Jakarta with a select group of Indonesia's most respected young artists. Moja was later commissioned by Bali's Club Med to create a painting for France's then president, François Mitterrand, which was presented to him during his visit in 1986.

In recent years Moja's work has evolved dramatically. His unique interpretations of traditional ideas, distinctive use of color, and exceptional imagination have attracted the attention and respect of Asian and western critics alike. In 1987 Moja and his father exhibited at the Billa Bernau Gallery in Bern, Switzerland through the sponsorship of Pietro Ballinari, Swiss Air, and Garuda Indonesia Airlines. They also had an exhibit in the United States sponsored by the University of Iowa. Moja presently lives in San Francisco and has exhibited with IndoArts at Fort Mason Center.

Moja has also worked commercially, providing illustrations for numerous books detailing the art and culture of Bali. Several examples of his work can be found in The Music of Bali, Bali:The Ultimate Island, and Birds of Bali. Also see Moja's website.

I Madé Moja's paintings utilize the age-old traditions of Batuan, a village located in the heart of Bali, Indonesia. This region is known for its complex and beautiful art forms, which are passed from one generation to the next. The learning process, which can span may years, requires a deep dedication to the craft and ongoing observation of older, more accomplished artists at work.

The technique is a four-part process, beginning with a pencil sketch on paper or canvas. Pen-and-ink is then applied to the delicate lines. The images are repeatedly shaded with Chinese ink washes, which give the many fine details a sense of depth and dimension. Finally, watercolor (or acrylic) paint is applied in several transparent layers and subtle highlights are added. A single painting can take many months to complete.

The Batuan style of painting is characterized by intricate compositions that derive from Hindu mythology and traditional village life. Moja draws from these elements as well as the abundant resources of his own imagination. Having studied a variety of painting styles and techniques, he has been able to build on his traditional foundation and produce work that seems both classical and new.

Moja's love of nature and his deep concern for the environment are evident in nearly all of his paintings. His elaborate compositions often reflect his vision as a landscape in which there is balance between people, nature, and the powerful spiritual forces that lie beyond. Many of his paintings also express his love of children and his own whimsical nature. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to present his work to an ever-expanding audience and create a bridge between diverse cultures.


I Madé Moja: Exhibit has over 30 works, including the following:

Two Bathers - © 1998 I Madé Moja

Saraswati - © 1998 I Madé Moja

Dancers - © 1998 I Madé Moja

Works are for sale directly from the artist. For information, contact M. Grossman, Curator Stanford Art Spaces (650) 725-3622, marigros@stanford.edu


Peter Silten

Peter Silten was born in Palo Alto, California. His works include drawings, paintings, limited edition lithographs, and metal sculpture. His artwork has been exhibited in museums and galleries, has been featured in American Artist magazine, and can be found in private collections throughout the United States.

"In an era when we applaud the creative artwork produced by people armed with computers, it seems appropriate to remember that the human brain, assisted by a steady hand, is still the most astonishing apparatus of all. The artwork of Peter Silten provides such a reminder.

"As his artwork reveals a process of study and investigation, it prods the viewer to look closely at each piece to catch its nuance. The eye seems to play tricks, producing curved lines while denying their very existence. Negative spaces move into relief. Circles spin. Boxes vacillate between sitting flat and standing up on end. The mind struggles with the act of perception and is delighted with the struggle. And inevitably, because we are creatures who see elephants when we gaze at clouds, we are bound to find in his drawings suggestions of leaves, birds, schools of fish, towers, ships and stairs. The patterns that we observe in nature, as well as in constructed objects, draw on the same universal geometric principles that his work does.

"Silten admires and acknowledges a debt of gratitude to Escher. As one who does not frequent museums, and has never had an art lesson in his life, Silten is a curiously hermitic artist. The son of a graphic designer, Silten began drawing and painting as a very young child. And it is this process of self-instruction which has made his artwork so unique."

- edited from Barbara Luck in Peter Silten: drawings and paintings, a retrospective, Falcon Publishing (1989)

I have had no formal art instruction. While this fact has sometimes resulted in re-inventing the wheel, it has also led to the discovery of a number of things that I would not have otherwise discovered had I simply followed established protocol.

The basic technique I use to create my artwork is pretty straightforward: I first make a pencil sketch of what I want to create. After that is done, I draw the outline of the painting in ink or acrylic paint. I then begin the painting process by carefully masking those areas that are not to be painted. This process requires a steady hand and a great deal of concentration. It is also very unforgiving – masking materials leak and otherwise fail, inks and paints splatter and run, etc.; the tiniest mistake can ruin days or weeks of work.

I do most of my paintings in black, because I like the contrast of a black figure on a white background. I find that the contrast between black and white adds another dimension to my work.

The motivation for my art comes from within: it is not driven by money or other commercial influences. I decided a long time ago that I did not want to turn art into a business. I feared that the demands and pressures of having to support myself as an artist might force me to compromise my work. That is why I chose an entirely different profession, a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco. As I look back on that decision, I have no regrets.


Peter Silten: Exhibit has over 30 works, including the following:

Four Colors - © 1998 Peter Silten

Stairs - © 1998 Peter Silten

Composition - © 1998 Peter Silten

Works are for sale directly from the artist. For information, contact M. Grossman, Curator Stanford Art Spaces (650) 725-3622, marigros@stanford.edu


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