Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Art Store at ArtSlant

"Matthew Felix Sun" on, a global online network for artists and collectors, finally build an online store, for artists to sell original and prints (high-quality Giclee reproductions).

I made four pieces available for prints at this moment. However, ArtSlant has not made them available for purchase yet. Hopefully, it will come soon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris

Recently unveiled Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay in De Young Museum excited me and brought back many happy memories of my trips to Paris.

One of the highlights of my last visit there in 2008 was Musée de Cluny, officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge. I have often been indifferent to artifacts and did not bother to find out what this museum was all about. Since my hotel practically is next door to this museum, I decided to utilize my downtime between museum hopping to investigate it, intrigued somehow by its look of a medieval ruin in front and well-kept fortress/castle in the side street.

It turned out to be a gem. I saw many beautiful things - furniture, stain-glass, sculpture, etc. None would exceed the beauty of its center pieces - tapestries: La Dame à la licorne.

On my first visit, some rooms were closed and since it was free, I felt more justified to return and see those rooms. Twice, I spent long time in the Unicorn room and was completed enraptured by the tapestries.

Before we get there, I listed below a few samples of other treasures the museum has:

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8552

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8565

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8555

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8553

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8563

According to Wikipedia: The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne) is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders of wool and silk, from designs ("cartoons") drawn in Paris in the late fifteenth century.

Five of the tapestries are commonly interpreted as depicting the five senses - taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words "À mon seul désir", whose meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as representing love or understanding. Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the unicorn on her left and a lion on her right; some include a monkey in the scene.
"La Dame à la licorne: A mon seul désir",900-8ab23a.jpg
"La Dame à la licorne: l'Odorat "

"La Dame à la licorne: l'Ouïe"

"La Dame à la licorne: le Goût"

"La Dame à la Licorne : le Toucher"

"La Dame à la Licorne : la Vue"

Musée National du Moyen Âge: Lady_and_the_Unicorn by Atlant
Photo courtesy of Atlant

It was a true heaven!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Die Walküre in San Francisco Opera

I just attended Die Walküre in San Francisco Opera. Any performance of a Wagner Opera conducted by the former music director Donald Runnicles is an event. Considering this is the second installment of the new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen by by Francesca Zambello, interests ran high. The previously published review generally agreed that the production though might set in a rather peculiar setting, it worked on all levels. However, her Das Rheingold was a muddied affair and decidedly less than inspired with the snickering-inducing ending, when the gods readied themselves to ascend a gangway, leading to Valhalla, or a giant cruise ship.

Die Walküre opened with screen projections, literally depiction the stories vividly told in the orchestra passages. This became a mainstay for the evening and soon played way over its welcome. Zambello's Ring cycle was billed as American Ring. Das Rheingold took place, you guessed it, gold rush era's American west, and the "roaring twenties". The setting of Die Walküre was more puzzling - Hunting's hut was perhaps a hunting lodge in the midwest while the Valhalla was a very boring looking boardroom overseeing the skyscrapers below. The last act was rather non descriptive and all the better for that.

The set designed by Michael Yeargan very boring and literal, which fit the uninspired direction. They almost got one scene right - the scene Brünnhilde announced the imminent death to Siegmund. It took place in a deserted underpass with the appropriate gloom. The amazing singers conveyed the intense emotion to the fullest extent and the tension was unbearable. Perhaps, out of charity, Zambello decided to add several Supernumeraries to depict a host dead heros waiting to welcome Siegmund. It instantly destroyed the spell. It was incredibly idiotic not to trust music and singers of such caliber as Nina Stemme and Christopher Ventris to do their jobs.

Most infuriating part came earlier when Siegmun and Sieglinde were chase by Hunding and his kinsmen. Ahead of the pack, two furious or cuddly looking dogs merrily chased one another across the stage. How cute. It was as gratuitous as one could hoped for.

But sit still yet, accompanying the ride of the valkyries, Brünnhilde's eight sisters, dressed like Amelia Earhart, parachuted down, which incited a round of applause.

Overall, Zambello's approach was nailing down a concept and bend the content of the drama and music to suit that approach. It worked in certain way, particularly if you are for an always on cue production - now applause, now weep, now smile, now roar with approval...

I wonder what era she would use for the last two installments which will come to San Francisco as the part of the entire cycle next June.

Suburban sprawling and big-box shopping center boom time for Siegfried and Crush for Götterdämmerung? Or perhaps, if she dared, 11 September attack in New York? Or the gushing oil in Gulf of Mexico?

Enough of the production bashing. The evening was still glorious, thanks to the master direction from the pit by Runnicles and the mostly wonderful cast, particularly Stemme as Brünnhilde, Ventris as Siegmund, and Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Escape Into Summer" - July Theme Exhibit at Artist-Xchange Gallery

San Francisco's Artist-Xchange Gallery is presenting a theme show in July - "Escape to Summer". Two paintings of mine are to be included in the exhibit.

Rape Fields / 油菜田 / Canola Fielder
Rape Fields
Oil on Canvas
27" x 27"

Bean Hollow / 豆形灣 / Bohnen-Höhle
Bean Hollow
Oil on Canvas
24" x 36"

The opening is on July 9, Friday, 7-10 pm.

Gallery locations and regular hours are:

Artist-Xchange Gallery
3169 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Mon-Sun: 1pm - 7pm


Monday, June 21, 2010

A Very Challenging Model

Last week, in our live drawing group at Cal, a very dynamic and challenging model posed for us. He was able to twist his body into intricate positions and hold still for the required length. The most exciting and challenging part was during the first ten 2-minute pose session, when he was able to challenge artists to capture the unusual and difficult to decipher positions of his limbs, hands and fingers.

It was a very exciting session though I think I produced less finished drawings than usual. But it was a most welcome challenge. Many thanks.

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5761

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5763

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5765

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5766

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5767

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5768

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5769

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5770

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5772

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5773

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5774

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5776

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5778

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing_5777

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5781

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5782

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Fun Project

My friend of mine asked me to paint the boarders of two reusable directions boards - one with a nature theme and the other one with some technology in mind.

I settled on snails for nature - I love those creatures and fiber optic light for the other.

Below are the boards I just finished. Hopefully, my friend would be satisfied with these.

Snails (direction board)

Fiber Optic (direction board)

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Late Renoir" Exhibit at Philadelphia Museum of Art

With interest, I learned that an exhibit titled Late Renoir is showing in Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The museum's website states:
Late Renoir follows the renowned painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir through the final—and most fertile and innovative—decades of his career. At the height of his creative powers and looking toward posterity, Renoir created art that was timeless, enticing, and worthy of comparison to the greatest of the old masters, such as Raphael, Titian, and Rubens. He devoted himself to joyful subjects—frolicking bathers, domestic idylls, the drama of classical mythology, and the brilliance of Mediterranean landscape and sea. His fluid brushstrokes and masterful use of color won the admiration of the emerging modernist avant-garde, who considered Renoir one of the greatest living artists. Approximately eighty paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Renoir are being displayed alongside twenty works by younger artists—Aristide Maillol, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso among them—to illustrate, illumine, and celebrate Renoir’s legacy.
I always have somewhat ambivalent feelings towards this great impressionist painter.Though I truly believe that he deserved his high regard, sometime I cringe when confronted by his more saccharine and sentimental works, as those represented in this exhibit.

I do like the beautiful Gabrielle With a Rose below, which was pretty but not overtly sweet. The suggestive facial expression was just that, very suggestive:
Gabrielle With a Rose, Renoir
Gabrielle With a Rose

The Coiffure below is a fine character study and genre painting, if really nothing more. It did not offend:
The Coiffure, Renoir
The Coiffure

But I really don't have any stomach for his grotesquely fleshly female nudes, with feathery soft brush stokes, and individually beautiful but cumulatively chaotic and clashing colors of rose, salmon, blue, yellow and green. The overall feeling of this The Bathers below is so saccharine that it is rather offensive:
The Bathers, Renoir 1919.jpg
The Bathers, 1919

On the other hand, he produced other kind bathers, like the one below, which is quite praiseworthy for its delicate figure and the heavenly teal blue color, contrasting so wonderfully with the pink flesh and golden hair:
Bather, Renoir, c. 1895
Bather, c. 1895

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A New Round of Live Drawings

Even in summer, our drawing group continues to meet at University of California, Berkeley. Below are several drawings I made last weekend:

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5405

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5407

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5409

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5412

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5413

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5414

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5415

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5416

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5417

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing _ 5418