Edge is a fantastic cityscape, focusing on a sharp- lonely house in a peculiar perspective, with a sharp edge menacingly pointing to the viewers. The strangeness of the structure is further emphasized by its faceless facade, its imperfect windows, and the surrounding plantation in unusual hues and shapes. This geometric cube and its tightly closed windows promise some zealously guarded secrets, and invites and dares the viewers to discover.
Crossing is a somber urban snapshot, featuring a not yet crowded thoroughfare, dominated by a row of pillars planting on a grassy tram lane in the middle of the street, between two vanishing tram tracks. From these mighty pillars, which extended from top to the bottom of the canvas, protruded a complex web of beams and wires crisscrossing the entire upper half of the canvas, as if wanting to imprison the indistinct highrises and the surrounding early morning gray sky in the backdrop.
In the foreground, a slouching pedestrian, isolated from everything and everyone, setting about to traverse one of the tracks. His detached form and uncertain posture enhanced the somnambulist atmosphere of this picture of parched and flinty urban life.
In the last couple of years, like many people, I was largely home-bound, and some reliable distractions and relief came through the courtesy of some windows facing the outside world, where some birds and squirrels rambled undisturbed by the upheavals in the human sphere.
When those carefree creatures failed to meet their appointments, I would ramble to a hallway window with a view to the house next door, whose bold and rich coat of deep blue, orange, and marron would jolt me into sharp alert. It was endlessly fascinating to notice how the colors shifted with the weather and to observe how those rich hues seeped into the hallway and tinted the plain off-white walls and ceiling colorful and alluring. Gradually, these shades moved and shimmered, like quivering butterfly wings, tantalizing and comforting yet somewhat overwhelming and alarming.
This sight formed the foundation of my metaphorical painting, Narrow Confinement, which recorded the narrow sliver of the comfort allowed me during the trying time and was much appreciated.
Narrow Confinement 28” x 22”, Oil on Canvas Completed in 2021
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 Oil on Canvas 30” x 24” Completed in 2021
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 22” x 28” Oil on Canvas Completed in 2020
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 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.
Crows are fascinating animals – omnipresent, prophetic and somewhat sinister. There were many crows hover around my neighborhood and quite often I was struck by the peculiar complex air they exude when they perched high on telephone poles, which dotted and dominated the bleak urban/suburban landscape of my environ.
I was moved by such vision to create a painting, titled simple Crow, depicting a lone crow in a forlorn urban space, aiming to capture such leaden atmosphere and desolate melancholy.
Crow / 烏鴉 / Krähe Oil on Canvas 24″ x 18″ Completed in 2009
Now, this Crow has been shipped to San Diego, for a show titled “The Crow Show: An Homage to The Raven” in Studio Door Gallery.
Exhibition Dates: February 2 – 27, 2015 Mission Valley Reception: February 5, 2015 6:00 – 9:00 PM Ray Street Reception: February 6, 2015 6:00 – 9:00 PM.
Prior to that, it was exhibited in the gallery of a legendary recording studio in San Francisco, Studio Trilogy in 2011: