Friday, May 11, 2018

Featured Drawing "Formation"

The monotonous grayness of the cold climate landscape, though off-putting to some, holds special attraction for me, perhaps, nostalgia is the root of such attachment. I love the blanketing quietness stealthily imposed upon the environment, and appreciate the occasional higher values (not necessarily more vibrant colors) which enliven the space rhythmically and musically. My charcoal drawing Formation is such a presentation of the cool, unyielding, yet not totally unfriendly northern place which tenderly and harshly nurtured my growth. Almost puritanical, yet beautiful in its heart-rending austere bleakness.

Formation / 行列 / Gestaltung
Formation
11.5” x 18”
Charcoal on Paper
Completed in 2018
Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com


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Featured Painting "Birches"
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Featured Painting "Birches"

A vision serendipitously visited me, and my subsequent partially-successful effort to capture it, resulted in a sparse and drawing like oil painting, Birches. The vision I pursued was a field of blurry birch woods, with the outlines of those slender white trunks emerging and disappearing constantly into darker background, as if the constant ripples of a vast waterbody. My final painting looked almost like the negative of that vision - bright serene background, on which floated silhouettes of several birch trunks, branches, and leaves, isolated or in clusters, in panoramic view, or zoomed-in detail.

Birches / 樺樹 / Birken  
Birches
22" x 28"
Oil on Canvas 
Completed in 2018

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com


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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Featured Painting – Anselm Kiefer’s Bathtubs

When artists strive to make things new, we can not and should not completely remove ourselves from the past or tradition. Often, the sediments of the past lend more meanings and poignancy to our new endeavors, or our new interpretations.

One of the greatest living artists Anselm Kiefer, is such an example who is steeped in tradition, and I was often moved by the historical resonances he brought forth to his monumental paintings, often through motifs connecting the past to the present, or the future. One of his striking paintings can be seen in SFMOMA, Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion), placed a tin bathtub in a desolate field, containing several battleships. According to a curator, the manufacturer of those domestic bathtubs, was also manufacturer of weapons used in WWII by the Nazi armies. Such deft reference was a master stroke of Kiefer’s.

DSCN2046 - Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion), Anselm Kiefer, SFMOMA Re-opening Preview 7May2016 DSCN2095 - Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion) (detail), Anselm Kiefer, SFMOMA Re-opening Preview 7May2016

That painting, particularly its intriguing bathtub, left a strong impression on me, and it compelled me to record my understanding and imagination grew out of Kiefer’s motif, and led to a painting which I simply named as Anselm Kiefer’s Bathtubs, which was populated with several of such bathtubs in various planes and angles, as if floating on an open sea or in the space. Inside the central tub, a lonely-looking naked man hunched over and hugged his knees. The occupied bathtub, though surrounded by its “peers”, who were obviously in disagreement with one another, and rendered its lone occupier quite isolated and vulnerable.

Anselm Kiefer's Bathtubs / 安塞尔姆 · 基弗的浴缸 / Anselm Kiefer's Badewannen
Anselm Kiefer’s Bathtubs
22” x 28”
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2018
Such painting is also my tribute to a leading artist of our time.

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com


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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Erasing the Rules - A Robert Rauschenberg Retrospective at SFMOMA

The long creative career of the iconic American artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925 - 2008) has left an incredibly diverse body of work, which proved to be intriguing, whimsical, and sometimes deeply profound, as seen in a special exhibition at SFMOMA, titld Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules (November 18, 2017–March 25, 2018):
From the 1940s until his passing in 2008, Rauschenberg worked with everything from photography to items scavenged from New York City streets to vats of bubbling mud. More than 150 of Rauschenberg’s artworks, including prints, sculptures, paintings, and Combines (works that incorporate painting and sculpture), will be on view in the retrospective Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, celebrating the artist’s continual experimentation with materials and collaborative working processes. The exhibition demonstrates how, with razor-sharp humor and intelligence, Rauschenberg broke down boundaries between disciplines, anticipated many of the defining cultural and social issues of our time, and redefined what art could be for the generations of artists who followed.
The exhibition was largely organized in chronological order, thus gave the viewers a clear sense of the evolution of the artist, and also certain trends of the art world.

First group mostly consisted of chromatic graphic works from the 1950s and they were quite fascinating.

DSCN0146 _ Sue, Robert Rauschenberg & Susan Weil, SFMOMA
Sue, c 1950, Robert Rauschenberg & Susan Weil

DSCN0147 _ Untitles (Scatole personali), Rauschenberg, c 1952
Untitles (Scatole personali), c 1952

DSCN0149 _ 22 The Lily White, Robert Rauschenberg DSCN0155 _ Erased de Kooning Drawing, Rauschenberg, 1953
22 The Lily White, 1951 & Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953

DSCN0150 _ A Print Designed to exist in passing time, Rauschenberg, 1948
A Print Designed to exist in passing time, Rauschenberg, 1948

IMG_6628 _ Automobile Tire Print, 1953, Robert Rauschenberg
Automobile Tire Print, 1953

DSCN0157 _ Untitled (Night Blooming), Rauschenberg, c 1951 DSCN0159 _ Untitled [black painting], Rauschenberg, 1952
Untitled (Night Blooming), c 1951 & Untitled [black painting], 1952

Later on, his works obtained more colors and the third dimension, literally.

DSCN0167 _ Untitled, Rauschenberg
Untitled, 1958

DSCN0168 _ Bed, Rauchenberg, 1955 DSCN0193 _ First Time Painting, Rauschenberg, 1961
Bed, 1955 & First Time Painting, 1961

DSCN0182 _ Monogram, 1955–59, Robert Rauschenberg
Monogram, 1955-59

DSCN0170 _ Factum I & Factum II, Rauschenberg, 1957 & 1957
Factum I & Factum II, 1957 & 1957

One of his most ambitious and impactful accomplishment was a cycle of thirty-four illustrations for Inferno, with complex motifs and compositions, and appealingly understated palettes. These illustrations were as profound as they were beautiful.

DSCN0188 _ Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (1-4, 18-21), Rauschenberg, 1958-60
Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (1-4, 18-21), 1958-60

DSCN0189 _ Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (5-8, 22-25), Rauschenberg, 1958-60
Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (5-8, 22-25), 1958-60

DSCN0190 _ Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (9-12, 26-29), Rauschenberg, 1958-60
Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (9-12, 26-29), 1958-60

 DSCN0191 _ Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (13-17, 30-34), Rauschenberg, 1958-60
Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno (13-17, 30-34), 1958-60

DSCN0197 _ Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno, Rauschenberg, 1958-60
Thirty-Four Illustrations for Inferno, 1958-60

Moving to the 1970s, Rauschenberg produced more works in three dimensions, and sometimes with additional mechanical motions and even sound, a fourth dimension.

DSCN0203 _ Mud Muse, Rauschenberg, 1968-71
Mud Muse, 1968-71

DSCN0212 _ Untitled (Venetian), Rauschenberg, 1973
Untitled (Venetian), 1973

Some were startlingly delicate, such as the Glacier and Jetty (Hoarfrost), and some robust and foreboding, such as Sor Aqua (Venetia).

DSCN0214 _ Glacier (Hoarfrost), Rauschenberg, 1974 DSCN0216 _ Jetty (Hoarfrost), Rauschenberg, 1974
Glacier (Hoarfrost), 1974 & Jetty (Hoarfrost), 1974

DSCN0220 _ Sor Aqua (Venetia), Rauschenberg, 1973
Sor Aqua (Venetia), 1973

Another highlight was his 1978 Hiccups, a group of paintings/prints on paper and zipped together into a long band, in no specified order. They were intriguing, beautiful, and deeply touching, for reasons hard to pin down.

DSCN0226 _ Hiccups (partial), Rauschenberg, 1978
Hiccups (partial), 1978

DSCN0223 _ Hiccups (partial), Rauschenberg, 1978

DSCN0230 _ Hiccups (partial), Rauschenberg, 1978

DSCN0233 _ Hiccups (partial), Rauschenberg, 1978

IMG_6634 _ Hiccups, Rauschenberg, 1978
Hiccups, 1978

I also like several pieces from late, such as the 1991 Holiday Ruse (Night Shade), when he was in his mid-seventies.

DSCN0234 _ Holiday Ruse (Night Shade), Rauschenberg, 1991
Holiday Ruse (Night Shade), 1991

DSCN0238 _ Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), Rauschenberg, 1996
Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996

DSCN0240 _ Jap, 1999, Robert Rauschenberg
Jap, 1999

DSCN0242 _ Eagle Eye (Ruminations), 1999, Robert Rasuchenberg
Eagle Eye (Ruminations), 1999

Great encounter with this amazing artist.


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Friday, February 9, 2018

My Featured Painting - Modern Man

My recent painting Modern Man is a portrait of a faceless man (or a woman) — dark, brooding, and quite uncertain — who symbolizes the anxiety-ridden man or woman of our uneasy and quite dangerous time, who's willingly or unwillingly blind, and can only stumble along in the deep fog from which he or she could never escape. The world is a trap.

Modern Man / 現代人 / Moderner Mann
Modern Man
20" x 16"
Oil on Canvas
Completed in 2018

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

My Featured Painting - "Paris and Three Goddesses"

One of my attempts to capture fleeting impressions of well-known Greek mythologies resulted in an abstract painting Paris and Three Goddesses, whose pink and golden color blocks in the background signified the dangerous intermingle of the mortal and immortal worlds. Three powerful goddesses, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, were represented by three richly colored powerful beams, which penetrated the human world below, while circling like sharks of their prey a small globe — the golden apple, to be awarded to the most beautiful one, planted by the spurned goddess of discord.

Poor Paris, represented by the golden color associated with another golden male beauty Apollo, was pinned down by those powerful beams above, and responded with blue sparks, echoing the beam of Aphrodite alone, risking the wrath of Hera and Athena, for the sake of the most beautiful woman on earth, the Queen of Spartan Helen, the promised bribery from goddess of love, and eventually launched thousand ships and unleashed the ten-year Greco-Trojan war, and caused unspeakable misery for many, many more.

Little ones are perennial pitiful playthings of the powerful ones.

Paris and Three Goddesses / 帕里斯和三位女神 / Paris und drei Göttinnen
Paris and Three Goddesses

Oil on Canvas
14" x 11"
Completed in 2012

This painting is currently in a Group exhibition Color Speaks (Sep. 23, 2017 - Jan. 20, 2018), in Downtown Berkeley’s vibrant art district.

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com

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