Oil Painting “College Town”

College Town was a snapshot of the unpretentious college city I live in, during the summertime when droves of young temporary dwellers cleared out their flats and moved on to their next destination, or back to where they came from, and left their transitory possessions at the curbs for repurposing. This still image captured the melancholic and slightly forlorn atmosphere after the adrenaline rush from graduation celebrations, when the excitement had ended and only abandoned chairs and mattresses scattered about in this way station, which dutifully quietly welcomed and sent off the young people to make their great or tiny marks to the world, year after year.

College Town - 大學城 - Universitätsstadt
College Town
Oil on Canvas
28” x 22”
Completed in 2021

Compassionate “Surveying”

My allegorical painting Surveying portrayed a nightmarish landscape consisting of fluid and unsettled patterns, suggesting disturbed soil or waves, like the aftermath of a fierce battle. A large figure dressed in a similarly patterned white garb, floated above this mystic landscape, surveying the ravage brought upon by whatever malicious agents. The figure’s outstretched arms, along with the melting drips from the white dress, suggested immense sorrow and compassion.

Surveying, oil on canvas, 28
Surveying
Oil on Canvas
28” x 22”
Completed in 2013

Crisp and Somber “Drifting”

Drifting is a self-portrait that captures myself sitting on the bow of a small rowboat, which gently rocked in a bay, with a small vegetated island lurking in the back.

The tip of the bow, the outstretched or bent angular legs and arms, and above all, and the figure sitting on top of the boat, jointly or separately formed several intricately nested and well-balanced triangles. Yet, the usual stability associated with such triangular composition was negated somewhat by the tilting boat; one could feel the swaying of the small boat, and the longer one stares at this painting, the more likely one feels the onset of seasickness.

My younger self, eyes cast down, lost in thoughts, doubtful and a bit rueful, manifested the angst of youth, of an era, of a nation. The frostiness of this painting, awash with crisp light and dominated by a distancing pale blue shade, was punctuated only by the wine-red swimming trunk, which provided a small gesture of warmth in the otherwise thorough coolness.

Drifting / 漂流 / Treiben
Drifting
30” x 40”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2001

Disquieting Coda – “Postscript”

2020 was such a distressing year that we all hoped to close the page in earnest. Yet, when almost halfway into 2021, we are still fighting to escape from the dark shadow 2020 cast, constantly adjusting or expanding our traumatic memories, by generating sobering Postscript, which was the title of my new self-portrait, recording such an emotional journey of mine in that eventual year and beyond.

Postscript - 後記 - Nachtrag
Postscript
28” x 22”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2021

Postscript was published by Artistonish, Issue 8, March 2021

A Very Cool Landscape Painting – Crisp

Though lately I am mostly attracted to shifting patterns, colors, tones, and shapes, from time to time, I am still inspired by pure scenery, particularly when I can discern such variations, and especially if the landscape evokes strong emotions such as moody melancholy. Such an image I had encountered in Manchurian China, barely a few months before the pandemic started to ravage the globe, intrigued and challenged me to create an oil painting when sheltered at home, Crisp, an understated work aptly captured a sense of community, isolation, and resilience.

Crisp - 清冷 - Knackig
Crisp
22” x 28”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2020

This painting is being exhibited in Biafarin Online Exhibition (March 10 – April 10, 2021): Exhibizone – Winter 2021 Catalog.

Moody Oil Painting “Waifs”

Waifs depicted an almost surreal landscape, tranquil and dark, as if under the spell of a mysterious and shushing moonlight. Amongst tall trunks, a group of figures shrouded in white, ostensibly young women, trod, plodded, or frolicked on the richly vegetated ground, ever deeper into the woods.

Despite their being in a group, there was an overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness, and their internalized presence was touching to behold. Their billowing dresses were as mysterious as these figures themselves – were these innocent young girls or runaway women? Were they spirits, witches, or visiting phantoms from beyond the reach, and acted in tandem?

Waifs - 漂泊者 - Heimatlosen
Waifs
24” x 30”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2020

Lost in a Metropolis – “Itinerant”

My recent Itinerant is a deliberately ambiguous piece, which depicts three almost identical figures spacing out in an empty boulevard. In the background, there are vague outlines of standing or seated figures, and a couple of vehicles, shaded beneath a huge awning or a theater marquee, or in the cast shadow of an imposing steel-glass structure, whose richly patterned façade was somewhat menacing. The strong contrast between the dark and obscure background and the brightly-lit and clearly defined street generates a strong dissonance. The almost identical postures and shapes of these three figures are enigmatic and hard to fathom. They are like roaming ghosts and can either be the same person appearing in three locations in sequence, or a group of persons march in unison. To ground the tableau, a partial figure bent over to reach the ground appears at the lower right of the canvas, adding an extra visual focus.

Itinerant - 飘流 - Wandernd
Itinerant
22” x 28”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2020

Naughty Boy’s “Boyhood”

Depicting human beings is both challenging and exciting, because of the complexity of the human emotions, and the viewers’ familiarity with expressions and postures associated with these emotions, which suffers no falsehood.

My recent Boyhood attempted to capture the instance when a confident and cocky urchin, insistently pressed himself upon the viewers, announcing his presence. Though a little naughty, he still possessed his innocence, and his wonderment at the broader world surrounding him was palpably touching, and hopefully would viewers of their tender ages.

The background was sparse, and open, allowing much space for the boy to occupy, except for a pair of moving legs towards the center space and seemingly poised to displace the boy. Perhaps, it was the man he was to become. The confluence of presence and future was both touching and a bit unnerving.

Boyhood - 少年時代 - Kindheit
Boyhood
28”x22”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2020

Dancing “Hordes”

My Hordes is one of several paintings that examines herd behaviors of small objects. Resembling new sprouts on thin stalks, or small moths or butterflies, or microbes, here they sway about and dance rather coquettishly against an almost inviting orange-hued background. Though less menacing compared to those in Whirring, they still manage to stir some unease regarding things invisible, during our current protracted Coronavirus pandemic.

Hordes - 群落 - Horden
Hordes
20”x30”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2020

Featured Painting, Whirring

The difference between the sublime and the terrifying can be surprisingly inconsequential as demonstrated in my new oil painting Whirring, which depicts a kaleidoscope of butterflies, bursting from compact layers of black and brown loam. Individually, each of these quivering insects emits delicate beauty; yet, in league, they form a confusing mass, incomprehensible and overwhelming, and the lively pattern they weave becomes rather terrifying.

Whirring / 旋風 / Surrenden
Whirring
20” x 30”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2019