Featured Painting – Cascades

Inspired by the lush fall colors in the valleys, and rushing cascades in the mountains of Yosemite, which I recently visited, I made a gouache painting, titled Cascade, trying to capture the spirits and impression of the marvel, instead of literal shapes and shades.

Cascades / 瀑布 / Kaskaden
Cascade
Gouache on Paper
12”x8”
Completed in 2017

A simple and heart-warming souvenir.

Featured Painting – Origin

The first painting I completed in 2017, Origin, was an abstract gouache painting, with yellow dusts scattered on a very dark background — red and blue streaks intermingled with swirling thin layer of black paint. A striking contrast and beautiful presentation, perhaps depicting the beginning, or end of the time.

Origin / 起源 / Ursprung
Origin
Gouache on Paper
10”x8”
Completed in 2017

The inception of this piece was a strange one. It was inspired by my aged, multiple-layered, and simultaneously muddied and rich-hued palette. A small vision triggered a larger one.

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 ept 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 “Apprehend”

As if I had anticipated a gloomy election season to conclude this year, back in late January, I worked on and finished a painting titled Apprehend, featuring a lonely bird, enclosed in a disorienting and confused space, sketchily defined by indistinct horizontal and vertical stripes of various thickness and shades of blue, black and yellow.

Apprehend, Oil on Canvas, 20x24, 2016
Apprehend
Oil on Canvas
20”x24”
Completed in 2016

The bird, in cautions pose, peers into the uncertain distance, seemingly full of expectation and comprehension, an apt metaphor of people in this traumatic post-election time.

Featured Installation – Wilting Flowers

Recently I created an installation Wilting Flowers and fully documented the creation and installation processes.

This new effort was spurred on by my continued fascination with paper material – delicate, malleable, and transitory, characteristics well suited for hinting at, versus representing, a world full of fragility and vulnerability, constantly under the threat of total destruction.

My local newspaper dailies, “San Francisco Chronicle” of all sections – news, finance, sports, arts, and classified, served as the building foundation. A segment of our time distilled and encapsulated. Inky strokes and splashes were added to the newspaper, then were folded and tied up to form large flowers, with aluminum wires wrapped with dyed twine as stems.

For the background, I chose five sheets of plain white paper, streaked with similar black strokes of ink diluted with various amount of water.

To install, I attached these background paper to a wall in an uneven row, then affixed those flowers, 13 total, to those sheets. There were no strict rules as how to layout the background sheets and flowers, as long as the finished installation looked balanced, and the flowers largely faced outwards.

I have installed these sheets and flowers on different walls – colorful graffitied concrete wall, or somber looking wooden fences, at different time of the day. The differences of the walls, the different light cast on the wall or fence, background sheets and paper flowers, all contributed to generate a murmuring polyphony.

Wilted Lowers Installation _ DSCN4040 - modified - 800px
Wilting Flowers
Ink on paper and newspaper, aluminum wire, cotton string
40″ x 140″ x 5″
Completed in 2016

Wilting Flowers / 凋萎的花卉 / Wilting Blumen

Featured Painting – One Fine Day

My 2007 oil painting One Fine Day soon will conclude its five-month long exhibition at at McGuire Real Estate Gallery in Elmwood District, Berkeley. This painting, in somewhat sickly moon light tone (pale Prussian blue), depicted a school of agitated and thrashing fish, tightly packed in confining space, bulging eyes telegraphing anguish, straining to escape of a deadly trap they had unfortunately fallen into.

The ironic title I chose, perhaps ought to be ascribed to some lucky fishermen. And that spoke the volume of the relationship of mankind and the unfortunate nature.

One Fine Day / 美好的一天 / Ein schöner Tag
One Fine Day
Oil on Canvas
22″ x 28″
Completed in 2007

Featured Painting “Mirage” – A World of Ambiguity

My Mirage, a fantastic painting, was based on a vision visited me when I was falling asleep but with enough mental presence to get up to make quick notes – a distant town, whose outlines barely discernible, in the manner of those commonly seen in old Dutch or Flemish landscape paintings, overwhelmed by several enormous and boldly sketched black feathers floating above the sky. Behind those dark and somewhat ominous feathers, a delicately pretty pale blue sky flashed through persistently. Yet, despite the seemingly menace, those dark feathers also looked rather protective and comforting. A world of ambiguity.

Mirage / 蜃景 / Luftspiegelung
Mirage
Oil on Canvas
22″ x 28″
Completed in 2016

Featured Painting – Birches

Nurtured by many Russian novels while growing up, I developed a special feeling towards the omnipresent birches, which not only aptly set the scenes and evoke the particular melancholy especially associated with Russia and Russian people, and finally, I made effort in 2006 to try to capture such feelings with a painting titled Birches, which is currently showing at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit.

I love the slender shapes of the trees, the softness of the finely-layered birch barks and their eerie silver color, and above all, the eye-shaped knobs imprinted on the trunks from bottom to top, as if birches were meant to be the chosen observers from silent world, so as to judge humankind.

Birches / 樺樹 / Birken
Birches
Oil on Canvas
22″ x 28″
Completed in 2006

That painting is also a play of optical illusion – amongst the eyes on the trunks, there was a singular eye floating in the space, unattached, between two indifferent birches. Inundated by so many eyes, this oddity was not immediately obvious; once detected, one might ask, if this is a most determined birch eye, the eye of an invisible human, or just a wandering independent eye belong to nothing and no one.

Featured Painting – “Forest Within” – When Reality Met Illusion

My 2005 oil painting Forest Within, currently showing at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit, is a play of optical illusion – the painting is a seemingly outdoor scene, yet the landscape is framed within a boxy confinement, and beams of light cast from behind and the shadows fall on the real or imaginary wall further enhances the blur of the boundary, where interior met exterior, reality met illusion.

Forest Within /  内置森林 / Innerhalb Wald
Forest Within
Oil on Canvas
24″ x 30″
Completed in 2005

Featured Painting: “Net” – A Gloomy Urban Snapshot

My 2003 oil painting Net, currently exhibiting at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit, is a study of alienation and anxiety of our time. The vertical canvas is split unevenly into three narrow stripes – a bright and somewhat richly patterned center “panel”, flanked by two darker and simpler outer “panels”; with the slanting perspectives of the outer panels, the whole image resembles an opened-up triptych. Furthermore, the center panel was covered by repeating yet subtly varied outlines of small windows and some interlocking ladders, which tilt in various degrees; the joyless left panel is a simple building façade, immobile, and featureless, except for some blank windows; the right panel features one large window, and behind the casually divided glass panes, there is a broadly sketched sad-looking man, looking out, tentatively raises his hands, as if attempting to make gestures of hesitant acknowledgement.

The strong contrast of the three panels, with the vivid and colorful middle, and somber and austere at the sides, plus the alien-looking ghostly person locked inside his flat, captures a sense of dislocation and disjointedness quite well.

Net / 網 / Netz
Net
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 24″
Completed in 2003

Not a surprise for a painting created at a sad moment of history – it was done in the year when George W. Bush poised to invade Iraq in spite of the fierce and sound oppositions from virtually every corner of the globe. My painting managed to capture the Zeitgeist then; unfortunately, the overall mood still fits today’s gloomy atmosphere.