Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Call - "The Girl With A Pearl Earring" in De Young Museum, San Francisco


The twin exhibitions - "The Girl with a Pearl Earring - Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis" and "The Rembrandt's Century" in De Young Museum, San Francisco are to be closed on June 2.  The second exhibit is a companion exhibition to Girl with a Pearl Earring featuring more than 200 rarely seen prints and drawings of the same era, all drawn from the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.  These were wonderful exhibitions and I visited these two exhibitions twice in order to absorb as much as possible, despite the fact that I'd seen the marquee painting by Johannes Vermeer in the Mauritshuis before. 


Much have been said about this now household name painting and I would not repeat much here.  But I can list a few my other favorites.



The first one was a small bird painting, The Goldfinch (above), by Carel Fabritius, a painter of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age, studied with Rembrandt van Rijn. Other favorite paintings included one by Rembrandt,  Portrait of an Elderly Man, 1667 (below)

File:61044 Portrait of an Eldery Man.jpg

Another standout was a genre painting by Pieter de Hooch, titled A man smoking and a woman drinking in a courtyard (below). 

File:Pieter de Hooch 012.jpg

The most overwhelming and lasting effects were actually from the "Rembrandt's Century" painting, with much moody engravings, etchings and drawings. 

My favorite was  Rembrandt's etching, The Landscape with the Three Trees:

The Three Trees - Rembrandt

I also love the amazing The Shell (Conus Marmoreus), a combination of etching, drypoint and engraving by Rembrandt (below):



Then there were Medea, or The Marraige of Jason and Creusa, 1648 by Rembrandt and his Christ Crucified between Two Thieves (The Three Crosses), 1653, both highly dramatic and terrifying:

Medea or the marriage of Jason and Creusa - Rembrandt


File:Rembrandt The Three Crosses 1653.jpg

There were more paintings and prints by other masters in these amazing exhibitions.  Do try to see these works!


Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- My Favorite Paintings in Mauritshuis, Den Haag, Netherlands
- "Compliments to Vermeer" - Controversial Solo Exhibition of the Renowned Chinese Painter JIN Shangyi
- Paintings As Pivotal Elements
- Last Chance to See Terracotta Warriors in San Francisco Asian Art Museum
- Birth of Impressionism at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- Venetian Masterpieces from Vienna at De Young Museum
- My Favorite Works at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- My Favorite De Young Museum Collections

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two Figure Paintings of Mine Published by Wilde Magazine Issue 2

Last weekend, two figure paintings of mine, Pilgrim and Pond were published by Wilde Magazine, in their Spring 2013 Issue (Issue 2).

Quoting the statement from the official website, "Wilde Magazine was founded in 2012 with the goal of offering a queer perspective on life through art and writing. We are a bi-annual publication, available in both print and digital formats.

We seek to not only offer a high-quality publication of art and literature, but to foster a communal and multimedia experience. Art and writing, culture itself, is not a mere showcase of talent, but rather a discussion.

The nature of queer life, as well as an artistic life, is one centered around community. It's essential in our creative abilities and our rise against adversity. This struggle has been documented by gay artists and writers before us, such as the very one after which this magazine is christened - Oscar Wilde."

It is a honor to have my works included in this magazine.  Below are the screenshots of the online previews.  You may browse the magazine in a reduced format online, and the print and digital versions of the magazine can be purchased through MagCloud.

Wilde Magazine, Issue 2, May 2013

Pilgrim - Wilde Magazine, Issue 2, May 2013

Pilgrim / 朝聖者 / Pilger
Pilgrim, Oil on Canvas, 24"x36", 2005

Pond - Wilde Magazine, Issue 2, May 2013

Pond / 池塘 / Teich
Pond, Oil on Canvas, 36"x48", 2001

This is the third publication of my paintings this year, following by Four Paintings of Mine Published by Superstition Review, April 2013 and Pomona Valley Review, Issue 7 Published with My Paintings and Installation.


Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- New Wilde Magazine Publications

- Unexpected Successes of "Stringed White Dresses - An Installation"
- Pomona Valley Review, Issue 7 Published with My Paintings and Installation
- Three Magazines to Publish My Works in April
- Four Paintings of Mine Published by Superstition Review, April 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Painting "Last Trip - A Dream" Completed

Last weekend, I completed an oil painting, titled "Last Trip - A Dream".  It was indeed based on a dream I had.

Several years ago, I had a chance encounter with an immaculately dressed old lady in my neighborhood and her exceptional good taste belied the time we lived in.  That was the start of our casual friendship and whenever I met her I always felt a sense of being granted a special access to a more elegant era, which had long ceased to exist.  Over the years, though she has getting frailer, she always declined any help I proposed to offer.  The last time I saw her, several weeks ago, she looked a bit down and somewhat less than perfectly careful with her look so I didn't have the heart to greet her, so as not to make her feel embarrassed.  It was perhaps silly on my part, but I think she'd appreciate it as my kindness.

Her frailty haunted me and in one of the following nights, I dreamed of her, lying on a large suitcase, dressed in black gossamer, readying for her last journey.  It was that dream inspired my painting below, though it was neither a literal description of the elegant lady, nor an accurate account of my dream.

Last Trip - A Dream / 最后的旅程 - 一个梦 / Letzte Reise - Ein Traum
Last Trip - A Dream
Oil on Canvas
22" x 28"
Completed in 2013



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- Three Magazines to Publish My Works in April
- Ink Drawing "Traces" Completed
- My Recent Drawings
- First Painting Completed in 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Last Chance to See Terracotta Warriors in San Francisco Asian Art Museum

DSCN6521 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

Early this month, I visited San Francisco Asian Art Museum to see the special exhibit "China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy" (February 22 - May 27), which included a small formation of eight famed terracotta warriors and two horses from the mausoleum of Qin Dynasty's first emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE), in Xi'an, China, and some other fascinating artifacts, including swords, bronze ceremonial utensils, and a pair of carriage replicas.

Seeing these vivid sculptures up and close was quite gratifying.  Each of those ancient warriors had a vivid face and distinct feature, with their uniform and their hairdo to presumably reflecting their ranks.  These horses were regal, substantial, yet graceful.  This small army, in the dimly lit exhibition hall, were oppressive enough to make me shudder.

DSCN6528 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6625 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6563 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

I particularly liked the replica of carriages in the lobby.  They were of reduced size nonetheless contained every bit of the carriages and horses' harnesses.  The warm yellow bronze and the green rust patina were both lustrous and ancient. The shape of the carriage was quite unusual and felt exceptionally beautiful to my eyes.

DSCN6510 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6515 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6620 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

The bits of the harnesses were deftly presented by incorporating line drawings to demonstrate the functions of those parts.  Other artifacts, large and small were equally stimulating and beautiful to behold.

DSCN6518 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6613 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6591 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

DSCN6578 - Terracotta Warriors Exhibit, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, May 2013

This exhibit was not of exhaustive scale but large enough to give us a very brief survey of the archeology discovery surrounding the excavated mausoleum.

As mentioned in my previous blog, Famed Terracotta Warriors and Their Intriguing Successors, excavation sites and the half-buried warriors, horses, and chariots in Xi'an are only a portion of the vast mausoleum site, whose full extent has not been fully mapped out.  In 2007, I had the chance to visit the excavation site and saw these astonishing displays below:

IMG_4944 - Terracotta Warriors in Qin Shi Huang's Tomb, Xi'an, China, 2007

IMG_4960 - Terracotta Warriors in Qin Shi Huang's Tomb, Xi'an, China, 2007

IMG_4968 - Terracotta Warriors in Qin Shi Huang's Tomb, Xi'an, China, 2007

IMG_5034 - Terracotta Warriors in Qin Shi Huang's Tomb, Xi'an, China, 2007

Anyone who wants to take a quick glimpse of this exhibit should take the advantage before the show ends. 


Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst

Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Last Call - "The Girl With A Pearl Earring" in De Young Museum, San Francisco
Famed Terracotta Warriors and Their Intriguing Successors
- Weep for Ancient City Walls of Xi'an
- Ruins in Sanxingdui (Three-Star Mound) and Jinsha (Gold Sands), Sichuan, China

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Unexpected Successes of "Stringed White Dresses - An Installation"

I have been working on a series of paintings with "white dress(es)" motif for quite a while and recently, I extended my effort to include some installation/mixed-media endeavors.  My most complete effort in this new field was a work titled "Stringed White Dresses - An Installation", completed in March 2013.

Using some rather square and unyielding origami white dresses, pasted onto twines who in turn were attached to a wooden frame, I created a subtle contrast between orderly and disarray, manifested in the disordered formation of those white dresses.  To enhance the contrast and drama, I affixed to the frame a background of colored ink drawing - mostly in black, with dashes of muted red.  When I started to get excited about this project, I recorded part of the creating process on video.  Below are the video clip and the finished piece:



Stringed White Dresses - An Installation

Though I was happy with and proud of the resulting work, I didn't pin much hope on this piece which was really an experiment.  Yet, I was curious enough to see other people's reactions to it so I submitted it for publication and in April, it was included in Pomona Valley Review, Issue 7, published by Cal Poly Pomona.

Pomona Valley Review, Issue 7 - April 2013 - Page 76 - Stringed White Dresses - An Installation

I was quite encouraged by this acceptance and entered it for the ArtSlant 4th 2013 Showcase competition, in mixed-media category.  Last week, I was informed, and then saw the result online, that it had won the award.  

Stringed White Dresses - ArtSlant Showcase Award

That made it the fourth win in ArtSlant's Showcase competitions. ArtSlant is the #1 Contemporary Art Network with worldwide arts calendars, artitsts, reviews and online art sales of originals and prints.

ArtSlant 4th 2013 Showcase Award

I am quite pleased and more than a bit amused by its success.  A new direction?  Maybe.  The "White Dress" series will continue, for sure.


Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- New Wilde Magazine Publications
- Pomona Valley Review, Issue 7 Published with My Paintings and Installation
- Stringed White Dresses - The Process of a New Installation
- Four Paintings of Mine Published by Superstition Review, April 2013
- Congregation - My New Art Installation- A New Installation - Chairs Installation, November 2012
- Making Art With Mother in China
- Paper Boats, Chairs Installations and More

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Boy With Frog Sculpture and Punta della Dogana, Venice


DSCN2288 _ Gondola in front of Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia, 14 October
Gondola in front of Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia

When I visited Venice last October, the high water repeatedly threatened to derail my plans, and on the day when we visited a cluster near Punta della Dogana, including Peggy Guggenheim Collections and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, the water and wind were quite threatening, so we only saw the sculpture "Boy With Frog" on the very tip of Punta della Dogana from the safe distance and missed the frog held by the boy entirely.  It was an intriguing enough a sculpture viewed from the back and though I was very curious about what to see in the front, I didn't want to be swept into the lagoon and believed that I could come back someday to see it again.  However, that turned out to be a wishful thinking.

According to BBC News, that iconic sculpture "Boy With Frog" by American sculptor Charles Ray, would be removed. 
Work has begun to take away a controversial statue depicting a naked boy with a frog in a part of ancient Venice, Italian media report.

The artwork, by US sculptor Charles Ray, will be replaced by a lamp-post at the tip of the Punta della Dogana. The decision has angered some art lovers who argue that it shows a failure to embrace challenging, contemporary work. But city officials say the sculpture was always intended to be temporary.

Boy with Frog, which is gleaming white and 8ft (2.5m) tall, has occupied the tip of a triangular piece of land that separates the Grand and the Giudecca canals for almost four years... It shows a boy holding up a frog by one leg and gazing at it.

In its place will be a reproduction of the original lamp-post... The old-fashioned landmark was thought to be more in keeping with the surrounding architecture, BBC Rome correspondent Alan Johnston reports.

Some animal-lovers also argued that the image of a boy holding the frog upside down was cruel, our correspondent adds.

But a piece in La Stampa newspaper criticised Venice's council, saying "administrative cowardice" had won out over real culture.

Defending its decision, the council said the sculpture had been considered temporary and Venice had a fine record of welcoming and exhibiting modern art.
Dogana, the dividing point between S. Marco basin, the Canale della Giudecca and the Canal Grande, and its imposing building, the former Dogana de Mar (Sea Customs Post), and the adjacent majestic Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, was huge and dramatic, particularly viewed from a certain distance, as we approached it from the vaporetto (water bus), and the ever shifting images were quite amazing:

DSCN2301 _ Punta della Dogana, Venezia
Dogana de Mar (Sea Customs Post) and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

DSCN2447 _ Punta della Dogana, Venezia, 14 October

DSCN2423 _ Punta della Dogana, Venezia

DSCN2449 _ Dogana, Venezia, 14 October

Up close, with a tall mast ship mooring nearby, the site was rather romantic and becalming, as we carefully picked our way on the flooded pavement towards the tip of Punta della Dogana.

DSCN2711 _ Sailboat in front of Dogana, Venezia, 15 October

The wind was strong, the water was choppy and part of the tip was under water already.  As waves constantly lapped towards a few brave tourists who pressed forward, I stood in the safe zone and took some snapshots of the boy behind his back, thus missed the frog dangling in the boy's right hand.

DSCN2727 - Boy with Frog, by Charles Ray, Punta della Dogana, Venezia
Boy With Frog, by Charles Ray, outside the Punta della Dogana

DSCN2728 _ Statue at the tip of Fondamenta Salute, Venezia, 15 October - modified

Thanks to outdoorPDK, I am including this photo below so my readers can have better understanding of this sculpture.  It was a beautiful one, albeit undeniably controversial.
 

Boy With Frog
By outdoorPDK

Moving away from the tip of Punta della Dogana, we saw another unforgettable sculpture, a very somber "Vater Staat" (2010) by Thomas Schütte, in front of the grand Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.

DSCN2734 _ Vater Staat by Thomas Schütte, 2010, in front of Basilica Salute, Venezia
Vater Staat by Thomas Schütte, 2010, in front of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

To me, the most memorable feature inside the Basilica was its huge geometric patterned floor under the huge rotunda. Endlessly fascinating.

DSCN2789 _ Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia, 15 October
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia, 15 October

There were several wonderful sculptures, shrines, and paintings; however, this visit took place near the end of our trip and by then I was suffering art saturation, therefore my memory of those artworks was somewhat dim.  Thanks to these photos below, I can remember their subtle splendor.

DSCN2781 _ Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia, 15 October

DSCN2771 _ Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia, 15 October

DSCN2770 _ Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia, 15 October
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia, 15 October


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- Two Museums in Venice - Gallerie dell'Accademia & Collezione Peggy Guggenheim
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- San Giorgio Maggiore, Il Redentore, Scuola e Chise Grande di San Rocco, Venezia
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- Teatro La Fenice di Venezia (La Fenice Theatre in Venice)
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Label: Italy, Austria and Italy Trip 2012

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bus Ride From Graz, Austria to Venice, Italy


DSCN8953 _ Uhrturm, Schloßberg, Graz, 8 October DSCN9568 _ Hauptbahnhof, Graz, 10 October
Uhrturm, Schloßberg, Graz (left) and Hauptbahnhof, Graz

Leaving the Renaissance city Graz, Austria, the city I called the City Without Entrance, and Exit was an adventure itself.  We left Graz via Klagenfurt, Villach, Austria, then Udine, Italy to arrive at Venice, on 10 October 2010.  The highlight of these two bus rides was the part passing through the Julius Apls from Villach and Udine.

Once we had departed from Graz, our trip became very smooth.  Though it was gray and we were traveling amongst the mountains, the road condition was excellent and any safety concern dissipated.

DSCN9614 _ Graz-Klagenfurt, 10 October
Between Graz and Klagenfurt, Austria

DSCN9691 _ Klagenfurt-Villach, 10 October
Between Graz and Klagenfurt, Austria

It took only two hours to arrive at Klagenfurt.  We followed another bus into the Hauptbahnhof and that was our bus from Klagenfurt to Venice.  All Austrian cities were clean and orderly.

DSCN9662 _ Hauptbahnhof Klagenfurt, Austria, 10 October 2012
Hauptbahnhof Klagenfurt, Austria

DSCN9664 _ Hauptbahnhof Klagenfurt, Austria, 10 October 2012
Hauptbahnhof Klagenfurt, Austria

We had ten minutes to change bus. The bus driver also checked our passports against his list.  For both rides, we had purchased our seats right above the driver, so as to have a good view.  The reservation cost only three euros each.  Below was our bus, resting at Villach, Austria, our next stop before entering Italy.

DSCN9708 _ Klagenfurt-Villach-Undine-Venedig bus, 10 October
Klagenfurt-Villach-Undine-Venedig bus, Villach, Austria

DSCN9710 _ Bahnhof, Villach, 10 October
Hauptbahnhof Villach, Austria

From Villach to Udine, Italy, we traveled through some beautiful scenery, part of the Julius Alps formation. We saw impressive pastures, villages and cliffs.  The pictures I took may present it as somewhat monotonous but in reality it was far from it. 

DSCN9732 - Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9733 - Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9734 - Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9748
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

The border between Austria and Italy was very plain, like a simple roadside rest stop in the US.

DSCN9750 _ Austria and Italy border, 10 October
Austria-Italy Border

The rocky formation continued for a long stretch and we passed some large quarries just before we came upon the fertile fields near Udine, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy.

DSCN9763
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9770 _ Julius Alps in Italy, 10 October
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9772 _ small town at Julius Alps in Italy, 10 October
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9787 _ Julius Alps in Italy, 10 October
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

DSCN9796 _ Julius Alps in Italy, 10 October
Julische Alpen (Julius Alps) between Villach and Udine, Italy

Now, the landscape started to take on more warm hue of the Italy we associated with.  The villages and towns took on a warmer tone as well.  More Mediterranean.

DSCN9807 _ near Udine, Italia, 10 October
Near Udine, Italia

DSCN9811 _ Udine, Italia, 10 October
Udine, Italia

Near the end of the day, we finally arrived at Veneto region, and we made a quick stop at Mestre Stazione, Venezia.  We were told not to get off the bus at all.

DSCN9825 _ Veneto, Italia, 10 October
Veneto, Italia

DSCN9841 _ Mestre, Venezia, 10 October
Mestre Stazione, Venezia

Then we left the mainland behind, and traveled upon a man-made bridge in the lagoon, leading to the islands part of Venice.  It was amazing to be on the bridge, or viaduct, seeing water on both sides was and then the familiar landmarks emerged in the far distance. 

DSCN9857 _ Approaching Santa Lucia, Venezia, 10 October 2012
Approaching Tronchetto, Venezia


Arriving Tronchetto, Venezia

Tronchetto was the final stop of the bus.  From there, we were to switch on a commuter light rail to go to Stazione Santa Lucia, which was the main train station in Venice.

DSCN9862 _ Tronchetto, Venezia, 10 October
Tronchetto, Venezia, 10 October

The light rail traveled on a bridge looked like a gigantic whale bone.  Very beautiful.  The trip cost only a Euro.

DSCN0494 _ rail track connecting Stagioni Tronchetto and Santa Lucia, Venezia, 11 October
Rail track connecting Stazioni Tronchetto and Santa Lucia, Venezia

Getting off the light rail, we dragged our luggage through a lovely bridge with translucent pavement so we could almost see the water underneath, and finally arrived at Stazione Santa Lucia.

DSCN0516 _ Ponte della Costituzione & Stazione Venezia Santa Lucia, 11 October
Ponte della Costituzione & Stazione Venezia Santa Lucia

We walked onto the plaza in front of Santa Lucia, and saw in front of us the imposing San Simeone Piccolo.  Naturally, we knew grander sights were to come.

DSCN9867 _ San Simeone Piccolo, Venezia, 10 October
San Simeone Piccolo, viewed from Santa Lucia, Venezia, 10 October


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- Graz, the City Without Entrance, and Exit
- Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele in Wien (Vienna)
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Label: Austria, Italy, Austria and Italy Trip 2012