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″

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
oil on canvas, 20″x16″, 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.