Featured Painting – Waft

My 2015 painting Waft features, against an empty and nondescript landscape, a very small girl in the lower right corner of the vertical canvas, running away from the viewers, while holding strings tied to floating human balloons, all in the shape of young women dressed in pure white, in postures of awakening or drowning. Was it a hopeful dream, or a potentially nightmare? It is up to the viewers to decide. Perhaps, what I captured was the the hope and trepidation of a very young person at that cusp of growing into herself, while facing a future unknown.

Waft / 漂移 / Wabern
Waft
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 24″
Completed in 2015

This painting was chosen as cover art and as a featured piece on page 19 by Pomona Valley Review (Volume 11), published by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in July 2017.

"Waft" published by Pomona Valley Review, Issue 11 "Waft" published by Pomona Valley Review, Issue 11

Featured Painting – Remembrance

My last oil painting completed in 2016, Remembrance, featured a ghostly profile of a pale and pensive person, occupying lower third of the canvas, head bending down, in deep thoughts, with a barely registered presence. Against this sketchily and thinly painted bust, the strongly accented abstract and dark background, asserted itself strongly, and became obvious the representation of the things to remember, a commentary to his thoughts. Perhaps, the winding road or river in the far background reminded him of the toil in the past; perhaps, the repeating pattern of vertical shapes, reminded his of the hopes raised in the past and perhaps not wholly accomplished, or even lost. An apt conclusion to a quite regrettable year of the turbulent 2016.

Remembrance / 記憶 / Gedächtnis
Remembrance
Oil on Canvas
24”x18”
Completed in 2016

Featured Painting “Minotaur”

I often found the Minotaur legend disturbing and strangely moving.  Minotaur, the bull-headed monster, resided in the labyrinth built on the command of King Minos of Crete, subsisted on tributes of young boys and girls, and was finally slain by the Athenian hero Theseus, who invaded his lair as one of the new sacrifices.

The strangest aspect of the legend was that Minotaur had a head of a bull, which was not a natural carnivore, therefore it would not be far-fetched to imagine how sickened he was by his own savagery, thus I treated this subject in my oil painting, Minotaur.

My Minotaur was not a personification of usual monstrosity; rather, a sensitive being, trapped by his monstrous nature beyond his own control, he eagerly awaited his slayer/liberator, so as to rid himself of the misery.

Minotaur / 牛頭怪 / Minotaur
Minotaur / 牛頭怪 / Minotaur
Oil on Canvas
24″ x 30″
Completed in 2005

There, a hoof under his chin, my Minotaur pensively watched from a precipice the approaches of the Athenian boat, while holding the ball of threads, to be given to Theseus later by the willing princess Ariadne as means to aid his existing from the foul maze after the deed.

A large tear oozed out of his eye but it was not a bitter tear, rather a willing resignation and submission.

Sorrow and Suffering, a Diptych Commemorating the Tragedies of our Time

Human history is sadly saturated with sorrow and suffering, a theme resonates strongly with me. In 2003, I made a diptych of oil paintings, titled “Sorrow and Suffering”, to record the pain people suffered and will suffer at the hands of ruthless and/or reckless political leaders, when George W. Bush was brandishing his excuse to invade Iraq.

Diptych - Sorrow and Suffering / 雙面圖 - 悲哀和苦難 / Diptychon - Traurigkeit und Leiden
Sorrow and Suffering
Oil on Canvas
36″ x 24″ & 36″ x 24″
Completed in 2003

Since that fateful invasion, the unstable Mideast became ever more explosive and the human suffering ever escalated. Yesterday a series of concerted attacks on civilians in the great city Paris shocked and saddened the civilized world and this diptych expresses my feeling aptly.

“Progression” – A History

My 2009 oil painting Progression, conceived and executed after our nation and the world had suffered the dark era of George W. Bush, and entered an epoch ought have ushered in some changes in the U.S. following the ascendency of President Obama. Alas. It was not to be. Many people’s feverish hope proved constructed from thin air, and the changes were ever elusive, and the human rights abuses we collectively permitted largely remain in place. The long list of human sufferings continue.

My painting attempted to catalog such sufferings in a collage of iconography images, from Jesus carrying the cross to Calvary, Michelangelo’s slave sculpture, David’s Liberty Leads People, and the hooded abused prisoner in Abu Ghraib. The focal point of the painting is the sad face of an earnest man, personification of the sorrows and compassion of humankind.

Progression / 進展 / Entwicklung, Oil on Canvas, 30"x24", Completed in 2009
Progression
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 24″
Completed in 2009

Here is a video presentation of this painting:

This painting has been choose to be part of a group exhibition, Today’s Artists Interact with Major Art Movements from the Renaissance to the Present, at Arts Passages in Berkeley (22 August – 11 November 2015), curated by Expressions Gallery in Berkeley.

Deceptive “Leisurely

My 2010 oil painting, “Leisurely“, featured a calm body of water in dreamy aqua tint, over which swayed some soft bands, reminiscent of weeds or kelp, intersecting with shorter objects – an array of rowing boats.

At the first glance, all looked orderly – Alles in Ordnung. Yet, upon closer inspection, viewers will discover that the seemingly tidy boats in formation, actually were upside-down and they were sinking to the bottom, however serenely, especially the rower inside the completely capsized ship on the top of the painting.

So much for the idyllic scene – an allegory of our uncertain and oblivious time.

Leisurely / 悠然 / Gemächlich, Oil on Canvas, 22 in. x 28 in., 2010
Leisurely
Oil on Canvas
22″ x 28″
Completed in 2010

This painting was published by Wilde Magazine in Issue 2, 2013.

It has been choose to be part of the curated exhibited at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley (25 July – 16 October 2015: Water, Water! Water?.

Terrifying “Devils’ Dance”

My oil painting, “Devils’ Dance”, created in 2004, was inspired by passages from the novel by the late Nobel Laureate Günter Grass, “The Tin Drum” (Die Blechtrommel).

As described in “Arabesque” and Other Paintings Inspired by Literature, Grass’s “The Tin Drum” moved me to create the painting mirroring his nightmarish depiction of book burning by the Nazis. The archaic scroll with the proclamation of “Faith, Hope, and Love” on the top portion of the painting, I hope, echoed the perverse scene in that passage from the novel.

The painting was created during the dark period when George W. Bush recklessly invaded Iraq, arguably for religious reasons. I found the book burning ritual aptly reflected the paranoid and xenophobic mood of GWB’s America.

Devils' Dance / 魔鬼的舞蹈 / Teufels Tanz, Oil on Canvas, 30 in. x 48 in., 2004
Devils’ Dance
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 48″
Completed in 2004

This painting was published by Synchronized Chaos, an interdisciplinary art, poetry, literary, science, nature, cultural issues, and travel writing webzine in October 2009 and by Howard University’s review magazine The Amistad in Spring 2007.

It is currently being exhibited at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley (18 April – 17 July 2015: Hop, Skid & Jump.

Featured Oil Painting “Quest”

Quest / 求索 / Suche, Quest Oil on Canvas, 16" x 20", Completed in 2014

Quest
Oil on Canvas
16″ x 20″
Completed in 2014

My latest oil painting, Quest, is a mystery piece – whose underlying message, even evades my own grasp, as the painting was, once again, built upon an image visited my mind when I was in the state of between sleep and awake, repeating the experience inception of another featured painting, Father and Son.

The focus of Quest was a blurry figure, either a man or a woman, who gingerly and wearily treads on a bridge or a pathway, which could be floating on a vast body of water, or suspending in the sky.  The weary traveler’s situation on the pathway was quite precarious, and he or she was in danger of slipping off the bridge; yet the traveler pressed on, hands raised, head bent and steps hesitant.  Therefore, this painting could be interpreted as either a cautionary story, or a depiction of a spiritual journey, a journey or penance, a quest for truth, or relentless self-discovery.  A quest.

The starry sky, in vibrant blue, decorated with moving yellowish green lights, was highly dramatic and textured, reflecting the turmoil inside the traveler; down below, there was a large body of smooth green water, interlaced with bright long red waves, soothing and seductive, pacifying yet can be just as dangerous as Narcissus’s pond.

This ambiguous, elusive and dichotomic piece reflects the perpetual anxiety of self-conscious human kind.

Featured Oil Painting “Father and Son”

Father and Son / 父與子 / Vater und Sohn, Oil on Canvas, 20" x 16", Completed in 2013

Father and Son / 父與子 / Vater und Sohn
Oil on Canvas
20″ x 16″
Completed in 2013

Often, when I started to drift into sleep at night, my restless mind would conjure up some images more imaginative than I could think of when I was wide awake.  Sometimes, during those dreamy moments, my mind kept its presence and I was able to rouse my in order to make a quick sketch or to, attempting to capture those fleeting impressions.

A recent such instance presented me an entangled group of tight embracing muscular bodies, in agony or ecstasy.  In the end, my decipher of the image drew the conclusion that it presented the embrace and reconciliation of estranged persons who ought to be close to each other, father and son.

Base on that quick sketch, I made a monochromatic and muted yet quite evocative and powerful painting, on the theme of Prodigal Son.

The strength of this piece lies in its universal touching theme, the heartbreaking posture of those once broken men, the strong outlines of the figures and the high relief of the bodies.

The painting is small in format but big in the feelings it emotes.