Thursday, September 24, 2015

Featured Painting "Siege"

My painting, "Siege", currently on view at Berkeley's Arts Passage, in an exhibition titled "Today's Artists Interact with Major Art Movements from the Renaissance to the Present", is an almost terrifying work, depicting a wounded seabird being swamped by relentless, aggressive crabs. The painting was inspired by literature, which has played important role in my art making process, as documented in this guest blog on Superstition Review: "Literature Inspired Paintings".

Siege / 圍攻 / Belagerung  
Oil on Canvas
18" x 24"
Completed in 2010

While reading the novel Europe Central by William T. Vollman, I responded strongly to a passage (page 497): "Have you ever seen an injured bird at the seashore? Here come crabs from nowhere - they wait under the sand - and ring it round, cautiously at first, before you know it, the first crab has leapt onto the broken wing and pinched off a morsel. The bird struggles, but here come other crabs in a rush."

That passage, to me, summarized the helplessness of the Europe during World War II, which, viewed through historical magnifier, constitutes the distilled essence of human suffering. The image conjured up by Vollman was translated onto canvas by my paint brush has made fairly strong impression on viewers.

Originally posted on

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Featured Painting "Progression"
- Featured Painting "Liberation Road"
- My Featured Work - Portrait Painting "Grandma"
- Featured Oil Painting “Father and Son”
- Featured Oil Painting "The Triumph of Saint George"
- Video Presentation of Oil Painting "Progression"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

My Favorite Paintings in Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

DSCN2212 _ Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venezia, 14 October

DSCN2232 _ Scuola Grande  di San Rocco, Venezia, 14 October _ modified

A grand building in Venice, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, houses a huge cycle of paintings by Tintoretto, commissioned in 1564.  For next twenty-seven years, he and his assistants, including his son Domenico, created this opus magnum. From this cycle, I cite these two below as my favorites.

The first one is "The Annunciation" which depicted this familiar subject in a startlingly dramatic way and the dynamic momentum and the stark tonal contrast were overwhelming.

The Annunciation from the Tintoretto cycle, Image courtesy of Wikicommons by
Web Gallery of Art

The second one is "Miracle of the Bronze Serpent", which composition is even more dramatic. It told the story of the resentful Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt and God sent snakes to torment the hungry and thirsty people. Eventually they were compelled to go to Moses and asked him to pray to God for forgiveness. God dictated him to make a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: "and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live."

The small yet centrally positioned Moses and the miracle serpent occupied a small swatch of the canvas, filled with light, a small hope, perhaps; while the rest managed to emerge from dark shadows - limbs and bodies intertwined in the formation reminiscent of that of the serpent.  Unforgettable.

Miracle of the Bronze Serpent from the Tintoretto cycle, Image courtesy of Wikicommons by
Web Gallery of Art

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 105: My Favorite Artifacts in Il Ghetto and Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum) in Venice
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 103: My Favorite Painting & Sculptures in Il Redentore, Venezia

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

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- My Favorite Paintings at Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris
- My Favorite Sculptures at Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral), Vienna
- My Favorite Sculptures in Basilique Saint-Denis (Paris)
- Basilica di San Petronio and San Domenico in Bologna
- My Favorite Art Works at Santa Maria Novella, Firenze
- Magical Piazza San Marco in Venice
- San Giorgio Maggiore, Il Redentore, Scuola e Chise Grande di San Rocco, Venezia

Monday, September 14, 2015

Gripping Novel "Consequence" by Steve Masover

Consequence by Steve Masover is a gripping novel, focusing on Christopher Kalman and his household of San Francisco political activists, who are losing faith in the effectiveness of their street protests. The novel traces strains on their non-violent principles as the household confronts challenges they are ill-prepared to negotiate, most dramatically Christopher’s recruitment by a shadowy figure to act more radically than he ever has before.

The novel’s plot is interleaved with thoughtful philosophical musing on the effectiveness of political demonstrations and civil disobedience, and the consequences of these and actions that go much further. The meditations don’t slow down the fast-paced momentum or the novel’s climactic denouement. Overall, Consequence poses serious questions to readers concerning what role one ought to play to be a responsible citizen.

That said, this novel was not a political lecture or polemic; rather, its focus was the characters and the intricate relationships of ordinary people who work day jobs, involve themselves in political issues, raise kids, care for families and communities, and struggle with the mundane issues everyone must attend to, whether they are politically active or not.

Through the taut and accelerating course of the events, we discover much about the vividly-drawn characters’ moral uprightness, outrage, dilemmas, self-doubt, and even despair. Their powerful adversaries are described palpably and convincingly. Readers are given a chance to see through their perspective, both as singular individuals, and as a chosen family or collective.

Masover’s language is economical and devoid of sentimentality, yet full of wonderful turns of phrases. I was reminded of the desert of Arizona: the beauty of the prose lies in its desolation and sparseness, and it is well-matched to the heart-rending story. The book’s ending made me feel lost and small, yet gave just enough of a flicker of hope to keep me warm.

I received a free, advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Other Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
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- Ashamed of Oneself - Reading Book "Never Let Me Go"
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- Review: Homeric Epic Noval "Oedipus on the Road" by Henry Bauchau
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