Swinging Sixty: Teguh Ostenrik

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Teguh Ostenrik, Courtesy of Tembi Contemporary

Making faces Take Ur Time, acrylic on canvas

He may have just turned 60, but Teguh Ostenrik is firing on all cylinders. For a while, the Indonesian painter and sculptor looked like he was being gently left behind by the country's booming arts scene, crowded with young daubers on the make. But with three solo shows scheduled this year, it now appears that Teguh is finally getting the mainstream recognition that his highly sensual, mostly figurative work deserves.

He isn't just going through a career renaissance. Getting remarried two years ago, and becoming a father again, means that the Jakarta-born artist is also experiencing personal rejuvenation. "This is the most productive I've been in a long time," admits Teguh, whose home cum studio is a flurry of activity. "I'm seeing things in a new way."

That energy has been channeled into a series of paintings and scrap-metal sculptures depicting faces fragmented into kaleidoscopic colors and patterns. "What we are facing is not always what it seems," Teguh says of "DeFacement," his current exhibition at the Tembi Contemporary Gallery in Yogyakarta. "The meaning changes depending on your viewpoint." In these new pieces, faces come into focus as one steps back from the canvas and sculptures shift expression with different vantage points.

Uniting the work is a deep understanding of the human form, partly stemming from Teguh's stint as a medical student at Jakarta's Trisakti University in the early 1970s. Producing medical sketches for histology and anatomy classes schooled him in the structure of the human body, he says, and laid a foundation for the figurative art to come.

His eventual decision to abandon medicine for fine-art studies in Germany represented a rich, exciting liberation — and he carries something of the same air about him today, in the second springtime of his life. "Picasso painted until he was 90," he says. Which means that Teguh is only just getting started.

"DeFacement" runs until Aug. 17. For details, see www.tembicontemporary.com.