Friday, December 9, 2016

My Favorite Paintings at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

What I enjoyed most at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) were paintings from modern German masters.  My favorite was Bridge and Wharf (1945) by Max Beckman. This was a typical mature Beckmann in his most probing mold. This landscape confronted us with a section of a massive industrial bridge, bold and strong chrome colored beams imprisoned by thick black outlines, chilly looking, partially blocking the view of a narrow wharf, in which haphazardly moored ships of various sizes, shapes and placements. Behind this chaotic yet impressive tableau, there was an almost angry leaden sky, whose pale purple color, together with muted earth brownish green over the static water in the central strip of the canvas, heightened the brightness of the colors in the wharf, predominantly rich red on the bodies of some ships, and on an edge of a boat a small patch of thalo green, which also lent its special chilling allure to some celestial elements in the sky.  All those bright colors were also boldly outlined, similar to those beams of the bridge, with massive black strokes, which bound together the diverse elements and colors with its inexhaustible reaches like slithering arms of a giant octopus. A beautiful rendition of a disrupted world.

DSCN7887 _ Bridge and Wharf, 1945, Max Beckmann (1884-1950)
Bridge and Wharf, 1945, Max Beckmann (1884-1950)

Cows in the Lowland (1909) by Emil Nolde was an apparently idyllic pastoral world, with several cows gazing in a lovely meadow; yet, nothing was as apparent as it was — dark grass, unnaturally colored noble beasts, scattered flowers, a wall of light pink and blue sky, all in heavy impasto and painted with determined palette knife, verging toward disintegration, and formed a world in the shadow of hallucination and madness. A prophetic work.

DSCN7885 _ Cows in the Lowland,1909, Emil Nolde (1867-1956), LACMA
Cows in the Lowland, 1909, Emil Nolde (1867-1956)

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 155: To be continued
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 153: My Favorite Sculptures at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Villa, Los Angeles (Malibu)

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Getty Villa in Los Angeles (Malibu)
- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles
- Brand New Contemporary Art Museum - The Broad Museum in Los Angeles
- Urs Fischer Exhibit at MOCA, Los Angeles
- Revisiting Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena
- Anderson Collection at Stanford University
- Paintings at Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
- Surprisingly Urbane Los Angeles

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Favorite Sculptures at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Villa, Los Angeles (Malibu)

Getty Villa by the sea was a heaven for lover of antiquities.  Among many Egyptian giants and Greek gods, I found most memorable a group of sculpture of a seated man and the flanking sirens, creatures of part bird and part woman. The real focal points were those ladies, whose careful postures belied their nature, as if they were in break from their fatal performance, and their nature was just a goodie goodie matron, or some prim figures from Victorian era, though they were from ancient Greece, dating to 350 - 300 B.C. The seating figure was a very plain and passive figure, therefore, my attention was fully on those two standing sirens, who on two legs, and large claws, instead of feet, looked very upright, though became a bit comical, when viewed on profile, with their stiff little tail stuck out below their hips, resembling ill-fitting coats, as if they were campaigning politicians in tails, during one of their eloquent and disingenuous speeches. Perhaps, that was what being sirens meant.

DSCN7360 _ Sirens, Getty Villa, July 2013

DSCN7362 _ Sirens, Getty Villa, July 2013
A Seated Poet and Sirens, Greek (Tarantine), Tarentum (Taras), South Italy (Place created), 350 - 300 B.C.

My second favorite was an even more ancient sculpture, titled Harp Player, from Early Cycladic, around 2700-2300 B.C. What so remarkable about this lucid rendition was how wonderfully proportioned and abstracted the little sculpture was and how poetic his or her postures were. There were a few wonderful dialogues, such as the contrasts between smooth and rounded curves and straight and abrupt angles, and between elements of thin and delicate, and that of thick and sturdy. The most memorable aspect, perhaps due to the ravage of time, was the small and ill-shaped head and the player's face, which was like a piece of cloud, with barely discernible features, as if the player had disappeared into an aural world of his/her own creation.

DSCN7550 _ Harp Player, Early Cycladic, 2700-2300 B.C., Getty Villa, July 2013
Harp Player, Early Cycladic, 2700-2300 B.C.


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 154: To be continued
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 152: My Favorite Paintings at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Center, Los Angeles

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Getty Villa in Los Angeles (Malibu)
- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles
- Brand New Contemporary Art Museum - The Broad Museum in Los Angeles
- Urs Fischer Exhibit at MOCA, Los Angeles
- Revisiting Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena
- Anderson Collection at Stanford University
- Paintings at Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
- Surprisingly Urbane Los Angeles

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Favorite Paintings at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Center, Los Angeles

What I found most interesting at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Center in Los Angels were European paintings, and my top choice was Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago (1804) by Spanish painter Goya — a formal portrait of an aristocratic lady in dramatically contrasting black dress with golden braids, pink shoes, and white lacy mantilla, with provocatively exaggerated makeup, standing atop a hill, a closed fan in hand, and holding herself like a seasoned stage trooper.

Goya employed broad and quick brushstrokes to establish her black dress and rustic cottages in the low lying village at distance, seen behind tilting ground, which, along with stormy sky, contributed to establish a personality prone to self-dramatization. Despite Goya's loose brushstrokes, this full length portrait was still very realistic, though the sitter's face was curiously plastic and devoid of personality. Maybe Goya did capture his sitter rather too well.

Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago by Francisco de Goya, 1804, Getty Center
Francisco Goya [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago, 1804, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Francisco de Goya) (Spanish, 1746 - 1828)

I was also very impressed by Edvard Munch's Starry Night (1893), whose sweeping atmospheric sky, mysteriously-shaped mound and other objects on the shore, and the mirror-like glinty sea, often basked in a blue wash, gave us a sense what the beginning of everything might have looked like, and we were in the presence of some celestial phenomenon recorded with quick brushstrokes and varying thickness of paints of blue, green, maroon, and brilliant white, interlaced with some eloquent patches of almost naked canvas, where the paints thinned out. Altogether, those loosely applied pigments and vaguely suggested elements not only generated a shimmering atmosphere, but gyrating slow movements as well, and the viewers were dazzled by that.

'Starry Night' by Edvard Munch, 1893, Getty Center
Edvard Munch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Starry Night, 1893, Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863 - 1944)


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 153: My Favorite Sculptures at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Villa, Los Angeles (Malibu)
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 151: My Favorite Paintings at Yale University Art Gallery

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Getty Villa in Los Angeles (Malibu)
- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles
- Brand New Contemporary Art Museum - The Broad Museum in Los Angeles
- Urs Fischer Exhibit at MOCA, Los Angeles
- Revisiting Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena
- Surprisingly Urbane Los Angeles

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Favorite Paintings at Yale University Art Gallery

Yale University Art Gallery's art collection had an amazing depth, whose collections dated back to the antiquities, but the paintings impressed me most were modern works.

My favorite was an Edward Hopper, Rooms by the Sea (1951), which, in contrast to his usual gloomy and enclosed settings, was surprisingly sunny and airy, though not without some uncertainty and vulnerability. The beautiful shaded green and yellow floor contrasted wonderfully with brilliant blue sky and lapping waves see through huge openings of the house, which cast bright geometrical shapes on the walls and floor, and those window sand sunshine created many focal points and they echoed one another through the canvas. A dash of red sofa and brown dresser, seen at the edge of the painting, anchored the sharp angled composition, and balanced the large sun spot and the open sea at the right edge of the canvas.

Rooms by the Sea, 1951, Edward Hopper _7742
Rooms by the Sea, 1951, Edward Hopper

My second favorite was Die Ungeborenen (The Unborn) (2001) by Anselm Kiefer, in his usual monochromatic fashion, and the media were again, consisted of paint, plants, and perhaps metal cutout dresses, all his usual media and motifs. Over the dark, though not overwhelmingly gloomy background, a delicate, broken plant floated in the center, with several very small dresses hung on its extended branches at varying heights. The message was not very clear, even aided with the title; perhaps, those dresses symbolized some tragically unborn children, and that made this dark, yet very delicate painting very touching and poignant.

Die Ungeborenen (The Unborn), 2001, Anselm Kiefer _7747
Die Ungeborenen (The Unborn), 2001, Anselm Kiefer


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 152: My Favorite Paintings at J. Paul Getty Museum - Getty Center, Los Angeles
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 150: My Favorite Paintings at Oakland Museum of California

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York City 
- "The Steins Collect" Exhibit in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
- Art in Subway Station, New York City
- Neue Galerie New York - Austrian and German Art Gallery
- Barry McGee Mural, Soho, New York 2010
- Arslan: In the Midst of a Single Breath - Dillon Gallery, New York

Thursday, November 24, 2016

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






Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Featured Painting – “Forest Within” – When Reality Met Illusion
- Featured Painting: The March of Time
- My Featured Painting "Minotaur"
- Featured Painting "Progression"
- A New Installation - Chairs Installation, November 2012
- Stringed White Dresses - The Process of a New Installation
- "Intrude", Wonderful Rabbits Installation in San Francisco

Monday, November 21, 2016

My Favorite Paintings at Oakland Museum of California

Oakland Museum of California has many wonderful oil paintings created by Californian artists in the middle of 20th century. The best example was Bruce McGaw's Figure (c. 1956-57), a portrait of a strangely lit bust, whose held up and inward facing hands were both awkward and eloquent, and it was quite a challenge to determine the spatial relationship between those arms and his eerie looking face. The pale tan face and right hand, interrupted by dark shadow of his featured, and framed by dark background, gave him a ghostly look, which was reinforced by the greenish tone on his left hand. A small patch of red on his left sleeve, and a thin stripe of red on his collar and shoulder over the navy blue uniform, added exciting notes to this muted monologue.

Figure, c. 1956-57, Oil on Canvas, Bruce McGaw, Oakland Museum of California _ 9486
Figure, c. 1956-57, Oil on Canvas, Bruce McGaw

My second favorite was Spring Nude (1962) by Nathan Oliveira. This painting had layers upon layers of paints, and the effect of the interplay of visible paints from various layers were thrilling. In the middle of the canvas, superimposed amidst these layers of red, pink, purple, blue, yellow and green hues, was a dark silhouette of a figure, which could be either a man or a woman, either frontal or rear view, and this addition completely changed the outlook of this otherwise abstract work, and the patterns of the background became a fantastically colored beach, and the painting became an evocative figure study in an unusual, almost mythic setting.

Spring Nude, 1962, Oil on Canvas, Nathan Oliveira, Oakland Museum of California _ 9491
Spring Nude, 1962, Oil on Canvas, Nathan Oliveira

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 151: My Favorite Paintings at Yale University Art Gallery
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 149: My Favorite Paintings at Anderson Collection at Stanford University

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Pixar Exhibit and Newly Renovated Oakland Museum of California
- Opening of "Free Art" at Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland
- Free Art at Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland
- Architectural Wonder - the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland
- Driving on the New East Span of San Francisco Bay Bridge