Wijati Soemantoro: The Ring of Fire
Exhibit dates: September 10 – October 5
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 10, 6:30-8:00 pm
Indonesian American artist Wijati Soemantoro abstractly expresses her emotional response to the natural disasters she experienced while growing up in the most seismically active zone in the world, the Pacific Ring of Fire. Soemantoro’s lithographs convey her reaction to the various stages of volcanic eruptions, from the initial rumblings and steam explosions, through the massive explosive eruptions of magma, lava flows, and, finally, the silence after the chaos subsides. Her solo exhibit, “The Ring of Fire,” will be featured in The Art League Gallery, September 10–October 5, 2015.
Born and raised in Indonesia, Soemantoro’s series is inspired by living by Mount Galunggung, an active volcano in West Java, which last erupted in 1982, the same year Soemantoro graduated from Padjadjaran University in Bandung, a mere fifty miles away. The eruption lasted for nine months, killing 18 people, causing the evacuation of 35,000 people, damaging 94,000 hectares (approximately 232,280 acres) of cultivated land, and leaving 22 villages uninhabitable.
Soemantoro works through her emotional response to the catastrophe by creating drawings based on the eruption, which she turns into layered lithographic prints through complex and intensive processes. Soemantoro compares the lithographic methods she uses to the volcanic eruption she depicts, explaining that the complex process happens in stages and involves various chemical reactions integral to achieving the final product.
Soemantoro notes that the many steps involved in the creation of these works help to influence the final product; as she adds each layer, the initial image “may develop to another image that is totally different.”
Wijati Soemantoro received her undergraduate degree in drawing from George Mason University in 2006 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Asia.
Monday–Saturday: 10:00 am–6:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am–9:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 noon-6:00 pm