Festival captures the effortless rapport within the community by bringing the viewer into the midst of jubilation. Crowned with fresh frangipanis and garbed in batik sarongs with an array of colors, from burnt orange, rust, mustard yellow to lime green, multiple women are scattered across the dense picture plane. The figures on the right side are placed in the foreground of the work, while some in the center stand gracefully in the mid-ground, further drawing the eye back into the distance, where a blue ocean delineates the horizon beyond the gate.
The work is characteristic of Indo-European figurative paintings that capture the essence of the physical female form and the pleasant nature of the pious, good hearted woman. Individually painted, each woman performs her own ritual, in her highly private pursuit of spiritual attainment, yet all do so comfortably within the space of their compatriots. A woman on the right side raises her arm with the grace of a dancer, encouraging the spectator to notice the foliage rising above her. Directly behind her is a woman holding a yellow umbrella, echoing another in the mid-ground also armed with her umbrella. Another stands tall in the foreground, with deportment befitting that of a queen, as she raises her arms to balance the offerings perched delicately on her head.
When arranging his composition, Le Mayeur plays with tensions and releases. While the umbrellas and palm trees are light, airy, and contingent on the whims of the winds, the thatched roof and the Balinese gate appear sturdy and erect. As a true impressionist painter and a master of light, he captures with such acuity the radiant sunlight and the local milieu. He he utilizes the effects of the sun to cast subtle interplays of light and shade across the festival grounds to distinguish individual figures within the work, rather than utilizing traditional outlines. The interplay of warm hues of yellows, reds and russet are counterbalanced by cooler tones in the sky and water, creating an aesthetically pleasing color harmony. In doing so, he creates fluidity within the picture as well as a sense of depth and perspective.
This momentous painting epitomizes the synchronous coexistence of spirituality and social order in Balinese circadian life. Captivated by the mysterious customs, social lives, ceremonies and festivals of the Balinese people, it is no surprise that this riveted artist would call this spiritual enclave home. In his lifelong search for beauty, Bali was a place of artistic liberation for Le Mayeur, providing a fevered twenty-six years of focus for his creative energy and would become his best and most celebrated period of his oeuvre.
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