Friday, November 21, 2014

My Favorite Altar and Fresco at Barmherzigenkirche, Graz


DSCN8739 _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

Though thee baroque monastery church, Barmherzigenkirche (Brotherhood of Compassion), in Graz, Austria, was founded by the Archduke Ferdinand and Max Ernst in 1615, the present construction was from later period - built in 1735-40, was by J. G. Stengg and it presented visitors stark contrasts between its austere though flowing architectural elements and the overstuffed, overwrought religious paintings, sculptures and altars. 

DSCN8716 _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

For the latter, it was their almost naïve sincerity and the heart-felt solemnity rescued them from the disaster of complete kitsch and drew viewers' attention to elaborate splendor.

DSCN8727 _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October DSCN8733 _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

Amongst those unusual objects, I found a huge altar centering on an ebony Madonna very intriguing and most memorable.  Underneath a seashell arch, enshrouded in beautifully decorated cloth of ceremony, which was covered with alternating dark and light patterns, this Madonna, shaped like a typical Christmas tree, embodied the universal elements, manifested by the bold motifs on the ceremonial cloth.  A tiny arm of hers held high the small head of the Baby, which, like his celestial mother, wore weighty crowns gilded in rich though subdued red gold.

I really love the primitive feeling of this particular Virgin Mary.

DSCN8724 _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

DSCN8724 (detail) _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

DSCN8724 (detail 2) _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

The second memorable piece in Barmherzigenkirche depicted a typical sacrificial scene of a certain saint.  It was a fresco on a side wall near an alter of the theme of the Lamentation.  What struck me most of this side fresco was the beauty of the subtle coloration, and the elegance of the postures, therefore, the rather terrifying scene was beautifully presented and such dichotomy generated a high drama of its own.  Furthermore, one could see that a sculptural lamenting cherub from the altar cast his sight on this painted scene, thus bound those two elements tightly together, forming a continuous narration from altar to the side wall and then back.

DSCN8734 _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October

DSCN8734 (detail) _ Barmherzigenkirche, Graz , 8 October


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 97: To be continued
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 95: My Favorite Sculptures at Schloßberg, Graz

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

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Monumental "Andy Warhol: Shadows" in Los Angeles

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, is celebrating Andy Warhol, one of the most influential American artists from the 20th century, by presenting his monumental Shadows series of 102 canvases.

MOCA stated that "conceived as one work, Warhol’s exceptional series of variously silkscreened and hand painted canvases features two different compositions, ranging in hue from an electric green to a somber brown. Based on photographs of shadows taken in The Factory, the artist’s New York City studio, the Shadows paintings alternate between positive and negative imprints. With few exceptions, “the peak,” or black positive, always appears on a colored ground, while “the cap,” a smaller, colored form, hovers before a black background."

"“The Shadows are one of Warhol’s most mysterious and beautiful works, full of mood and feeling, repeated over and over, not unlike a song. Seeing them all together at MOCA provides a special occasion to consider an artist we think we know from a new angle,” said MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson."

DSCN0415 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, 1978-79, MOCA, LA

In October, I had the chance to visit MOCA in LA, and I was surprised by how compact this series seemed and how grandiose it really was, when confronted by those arrays of canvases displayed in a modest corridor and a single albeit huge hall.  At the first glance, I was rather underwhelmed by the seemingly smallish looking display; upon closer inspection, I realized the amazing scope of the endeavor and was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of those canvases and the myriad variations they conveyed - the imagination of the artists was apparently boundless and the beauty of these subtly differentiated coloration was incredibly moving.  Below are images from that incredible exhibition:

DSCN0470 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0439 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0444 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0419 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0436 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0427 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0425 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0437 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0431 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0428 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0422 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0421 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0435 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0418 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0417 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

Below images offer closer look of those canvases:

DSCN0416 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0420 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0424 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0423 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0443 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0442 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0440 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0438 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0446 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0434 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0433 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0432 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0430 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0429 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

DSCN0472 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA DSCN0471 _ Andy Warhol_ Shadows, MOCA, LA

The show ends on February 2, 2015, so people still have chance to see the exhibition. Even for those who are not big fan of Warhol, me included, it can still be a moving experience to see those incandescent beautiful pieces together.  High recommended.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oil Painting "Upstream" Goes to Seattle

Last week, I shipped to Seattle my 2008 oil painting, Upstream, which has been selected for the juried show, 2014 Evergreen Association of Fine Arts (EAFA) Open Exhibition, at EAFA Gallery in the Seattle Design Center (5701 Sixth Avenue South, Suite P292, Seattle, WA 98108).

This modest painting, measured 24" by 18", semi-abstract in style, clearly influenced by Chinese ink painting, depicts a fish or two struggles to swim upstream, against the current.  It is fitting for the painting to travel to Seattle, because it was in that city when I witnessed an amazing salmon run in Chittenden Locks Fish Ladder several years ago.

 Upstream / 逆流 / Gegen den Strom

This painting was not a frank documentation of that fish ladder scene; rather, when I painted it, I was trying to capture a free spirit, a spirit to overcome adversaries.  I deliberated chose a black and white color scheme, and a bold, almost abstract outline, as I was mostly interested in something elemental, less representational.

This work surely has a charmed life and earned a fair bit of recognitions - in 2009, it was published in The William and Mary Review by The College of William and Mary, Virginia, Volume 47.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Orange Celebration in San Francisco Civic Center

Though I am not a baseball fan, I appreciated it when San Francisco Civic Center dressed up in glowing orange, the color of San Francisco Giants, which is playing in the World Series, particularly in the Halloween season.

Last Saturday, when I attended a performance at San Francisco Opera, I was quite enchanted by the orange civic monuments, such as San Francisco City Hall, Opera House and the Symphony Hall:

DSCN7862  - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow - 500m
City Hall

DSCN7868 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow

DSCN7863 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow

DSCN7869 - San Francisco City Hall, Opera House, Symphony  in SF Giants' Orange Glow
City Hall, Symphony Hall and Opera House

DSCN7870 - San Francisco Opera Housel in SF Giants' Orange Glow
Symphony Hall and Opera House

DSCN7880 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow DSCN7879 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow

DSCN7878 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow

DSCN7877 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow DSCN7862  - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow - m

DSCN7873+4 - San Francisco City Hall in SF Giants' Orange Glow - 700

DSCN7875 - San Francisco Opera House in SF Giants' Orange Glow
Opera House Balcony

DSCN7876 - San Francisco Opera House in SF Giants' Orange Glow

DSCN7881 - San Francisco Opera House in SF Giants' Orange Glow
Inside the Opera House

DSCN7883 - San Francisco Opera House in SF Giants' Orange Glow


Inside or outside the Opera House, the orange color really sparkled.

PS: Many years ago, when I first heard of the concept of World Series, I asked which countries were playing the tournament.


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