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Matthew Felix Sun

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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 attenti... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 12/5

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... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 12/1

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 th... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/27

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 encap... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/26

My Favorite Paintings at Anderson Collection at Stanford University

Anderson Collection at Stanford University was built to showcase an Anderson family's modern art collection. I found Theophrastus' Garden (1982) by Terry Winters very enchanting. This ethereal garden, in pleasing shades of burnt umber and blended and mingled with white tint, was at the same time earthy, solid, airy, and unreal. The strange, insect-looking flora, in shades of steely blue, scattered around into the depth, like the dispersing dandelion seeds, animated this fenced in paradise. Theophrastus' Garden, 1982, Terry Winters Another favorite of mine was a monochromatic, semi-abst... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/18

My Favorite Paintings at Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University was known for its amazing Rodin sculpture collections, but its painting collections were also remarkable. My favorite was a semi-abstract by Richard Diebenkorn, titled Window. This painting was striking in its bold division of the canvas into several flat areas of brilliantly contrasting colors - bright blue, neutral orange and muted green, plus a narrow stretch of varying gray. Some details of depicted objects, large or small, helped to break otherwise monotonousness of each area, and artfully joined them together.... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/15

My Favorite Engravings at Seattle Art Museum

What impressed me most in Seattle Art Museum were two amazing engravings, both by the great German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). The first was titled Ritter, Tod und Teufel (Knight, Death and Devil) (1513). This allegorical piece zoomed in on a weary-looking knight amounting a sturdy steed, accompanied by two goat-like strange creatures, one on an exhausted horse to the knight's right — Death, identifiable by the hourglass in his hand reminding the knight of the shortness of life, and the other one following behind on foot, even more hideous looking than Death — the Devi... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/11

My Favorite Artifacts in Phoebe A. Hearst Anthropology Museum, UC Berkeley

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology of University of California, Berkeley has a huge trove of wonderful and sometimes strange artefeacts from all over the world and many of its prized collections are those from the ancient civilizations. The most amazing pieces are a group of Egyptian mummy portraits. These ancient works astonished with their verisimilitude. Perhaps, there were some customary beautification, but these portraits really strove to capture the likeliness of the deceased, and their living spirits and personalities. Another interesting aspect of these portraits was that the dec... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/8

My Favorite Paintings at Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive

BAMPFA, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, with a proclaimed mission to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film. One of the most striking paintings I saw in their inaugural exhibition at the new downtown location was 4 Brushstrokes over Figure by Hyun-Sook Son, a painting of a woman half-hidden behind a gauzy white curtain on the left half of the painting, contrasting greatly to the very dark background on the right, bound together by a perhaps... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 11/1

My Favorite Paintings at Art Institute of Chicago

One of the largest art museums in the US, the Art Institute of Chicago dazzled visitors with its vast arrays of treasures. My favorite was Saint Martin and the Beggar by El Greco, dating back to the beginning of the 17th century. The first impression of the painting was the freshness and cleanness — the rain-washed blue sky, the gleaming white pelt of the horse, the polished face, drape and armor of the well-groomed saint, and even the taut and well-scrubbed skin of the beggar — all these gave the painting an other-worldly purity, which was also heightened by the contrast to... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/28

My Favorite Drawing and Artefact at Morgan Library & Museum in New York City

Morgan Library & Museum in New York City is one of many jewels in that grand city. I was great touched by a drawing study of Peter Paul Rubens, Seated Male Youth (Study for Daniel), done in lack chalk, heightened with white chalk, on light gray paper. This drawing, a preparatory work for painting Daniel in the Lions' Den, depicted the agonized youth in supplication. The heightened facial emotion and the tensed torso of the muscular sitter, the bold outlines, the effective shading, and the detailed and accurate facial and hand features, left a great impression on viewers. As usual, one could see... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/25

My Favorite Paintings at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City was an iconic modern building, and I was a bit surprised to see some paintings from somewhat older era - early 20th century, which in current art market has almost become "classical". My favorite painting was Saint-Séverin No. 3 (1909-10) by French painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941). This monochromatic painting depicted the tall nave of the cathedral and the interlocking buttresses, elongated, soaring, resembling a giant pipe organ, or a glimpse of the hollow of abdominal cavity — vast, cavernous, seductive yet foreboding. Saint-Séverin No. 3,... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/22

Featured Painting - One Fine Day

My 2007 oil painting One Fine Day soon will conclude its five-month long exhibition at at McGuire Real Estate Gallery in Elmwood District, Berkeley. This painting, in somewhat sickly moon light tone (pale Prussian blue), depicted a school of agitated and thrashing fish, tightly packed in confining space, bulging eyes telegraphing anguish, straining to escape of a deadly trap they had unfortunately fallen into. The ironic title I chose, perhaps ought to be ascribed to some lucky fishermen. And that spoke the volume of the relationship of mankind and the unfortunate nature. One Fine Day Oil... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/18

My Favorite Paintings at Neue Galerie, New York City

Practically a next door neighbor to the mammoth Metropolitan Museum, Neue Galerie in New York City was a modest and exquisite museum, which specializes in early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design, and has become much wider known due to its addition of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt, after a landmark judgement over its ownership, claimed by Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, and the original owner's heir, resided then in the US. That Klimt was indeed amazing and mesmerizing; however, to me, the most engaging painting was a self-portrait by German pain... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/14

My Favorite Paintings at New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

One of my favorite museums is the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), of whose early 20th century European painting collections I am particularly partial. My most favorite was a triptych by the German painter Max Beckmann, the mystical and political Departure (1933-35). These beautifully rendered hallucinatory, menacing, foreboding, and just slightly hopeful and redemptive panels, aptly and sadly captured one of the most horrifying moments of human history. These paintings were the answers to the art's existential question. Less tense, yet no less disquieting, an early Picasso... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/8

My Favorite Sculptures at Han Yangling (Han Dynasty Yang Tomb) in Xianyang, Shaanxi, China

The most famous burial ground in China, must be that of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty, who employed a gigantic terracotta army to guard him in the afterlife. In the ensuing Han Dynasty, one of the emperors employed an army of smaller scale and smaller statue. Instead of human-sized terracotta warriors, this so-called Jing Emperor could only afford to have earthen ware torso armies, with wooden arms, which by now have completely rotten away, thus this army of cripples of one-third of human size. A pitiful and creepy looking army. The most memorable figure... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/4

My Favorite Calligraphy and Monument at Great Mosque of Xi'an, China

There is a Great Mosque in Xi'an, China, though the main buildings had distinctive flavor of Chinese architecture, amidst Arab characteristics. I loved a group of wooden scrolls hanging by the entrances to the main hall - gold-filled calligraphy carvings on blackened wood had a pleasing contrast and each character looked like a finely composed picture, perfectly balanced and centered, and full of flowing beauty. Even the chipping of the black paints became well-integrated elements of the larger canvas. I also liked very much a pavilion protecting a stele. The basic st... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 10/1

My Favoritate Bronze Artifacts at Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an, China

Shaanxi History Museum in Xi'an, China had many ancient artifacts due to the fact that it lies in the cradle of Chinese Yellow River civilization. My favorites there were not very flashy. I liked a shallow basin very much, for the unusual shape, the beautiful interplay of the green bronze and the red rust, and above all, the fine inscription in the middle of the basin - eight characters in the ancient style and hardly legible for a person like me without special training. My second favorite was one bronze flask (right), for its peculiar shape, the intricate bands of decorations on the belly... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/28

Featured Painting “Mirage” – A World of Ambiguity

My Mirage, a fantastic painting, was based on a vision visited me when I was falling asleep but with enough mental presence to get up to make quick notes – a distant town, whose outlines barely discernible, in the manner of those commonly seen in old Dutch or Flemish landscape paintings, overwhelmed by several enormous and boldly sketched black feathers floating above the sky. Behind those dark and somewhat ominous feathers, a delicately pretty pale blue sky flashed through persistently. Yet, despite the seemingly menace, those dark feathers also looked rather protective and comforting. A... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/22

My Favorite Sculptures at Terracotta Army Site, Xi'an

The famed Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty in China impressed not only with the sheer numbers of those soldiers, generals and horses, but upon close inspection, the endless variations of those individuals, each one of them seemed to have a distinct look and personalities, a far cry from cookie cutter mass production one might have suspected. The most impressive was a Standing Archer - whose stylized yet naturalistic posture and his impassive face emitted an aura of zen, strange for a soldier. Also noteworthy was the plain but delicate face of this calm soldier. ... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/21

My Favorite Earthenware Artifacts in Banpo Archaeological Site Museum, Xi'an, China

Banpo Archaeological Site Museum, Xi'an, China featured one of the earliest civilizations originated in China, in the Yellow River Valley, and it showcased many ancient artifacts remarkable not only for historical values, but the refined beauty belying their primitive and humble origins. One such wonder was "A basin with abstracted fish design", whose rich earthy red tone was a thing of great beauty, and the black line drawing geometrical design of fish in multiple variations and arrangements was amazingly accomplished and startlingly modern. A basin with abstracted fish design Contrasting to... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/18

My Favorite Sculptural Artifacts in Sanxingdui, Guanghan, Deyang, Sichuan, China

The breathtaking artifacts in the archaeology site Sanxingdui (Three-Star Mound) in Sichuan Province, China, astonished people with their exotic to the point of bizarre beauty. For example, this pair of gold-masked busts though had all the prerequisite facial features, but the shape and proportions of those were so strange, that these busts were hardly human, at least not earthly human. However bizarre they looked, they were absolutely to behold. The green patina of the bronze harmonized magically with the pale gold, which shone without being unnecessarily brilliant. Another st... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/15

My Favorite Sculptures at Dazu Rock Carvings Grottoes, Chongqing, China

Dazu Rock Carvings Grottoes near Chongqing, China have wonderful Buddhist and Taoist sculptures and carvings dating back as far as the 7th century AD. There were many fantastic sculptures and my favorite one was a Buddha with a fanciful flying wings atop his crown, which instantly softened and humanized the rather austere and upright Buddha. My second favorite sculpture was a "Circle of Life", which featured many animals and phases of life, a wonderful illustration of the concept of reincarnation. My Favorite Museum Collection Series >> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 132: My Favorite Scul... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/12

My Favorite Sculptural Artifacts in Jinsha (Archaeological) Site Museum, Chengdu, China

The ancient culture in nowadays Sichuan Province, China was vastly different from those originated in the Yellow River region, the mainstream Chinese culture as we know it. Jinsha (Archaeology) Site Museum in Chengdu, China, featured many mysterious artifacts resembled those we would see in Sci-Fi movies. The most treasurable item was a gold foil wheel of Sun Birds - four cutout mythical birds flying around a cutout swirling wheel, spilling flares just like the sun. Perhaps, it was the red background generated the semblance to the fiery sun; but the effectiveness was uncanny. The... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 9/8

My Favorite Paintings at Xu Beihong Museum in Beijing

Xu Beihong (1895-1953) was a renown Chinese artist, who was uniquely accomplished in both western oil paintings and traditional Chinese paintings. The museum bears his name, Xu Beihong Museum in Beijing had many of fine representations of his works. One of his most famous oil painting was a portrait titled "Sound of Flute", which, though somewhat veered towards sentimentality, was redeemed by the heroine's shagginess, which transported her to the purer and more primitive and private world. Rather than a candied soiree, we were witnessing the sitter's private communion. One of Xu's large sca... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/29

My Favorite Paintings at National Art Museum of China, Beijing

The National Art Museum of China in Beijing has interesting oil painting collections, but when I visited it many years ago, the only oil paintings on display were a group of portraits of political and bigness bigwigs, uniformly done in the quite pompous and imperial fashion, therefore the only works worth seeing were some Chinese paintings and here are a couple of such samples. The 1960 landscape "Xiling Gorge" by FU Baoshi was a bold presentation of an often painted subject - one of the renown Three Gorges in upper Yangtze River. With broad and assertive strokes, and only a few shades of bla... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/26

My Featured Painting: Birches

Nurtured by many Russian novels while growing up, I developed a special feeling towards the omnipresent birches, which not only aptly set the scenes and evoke the particular melancholy especially associated with Russia and Russian people, and finally, I made effort in 2006 to try to capture such feelings with a painting titled Birches, which is currently showing at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit. I love the slender shapes of the trees, the softness of the finely-layered birch barks and their eerie silver color, and above all,... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/23

My Favorite Paintings at Liaoning Provincial Museum, Shenyang, China

The main museum in my hometown, Manchurian city Shenyang, Liaoning Provincial Museum, boasted some magnificent artifacts and Chinese paintings, due to the fact that the last imperial dynasty was originated from Manchuria, and had kept a rich trove of art treasures in Shenyang, especially during and after World War II, when Manchu elites retreated back to northeastern China. Like many cities in China, Shenyang has experienced rapid expansion in the last decade or so, resulting in the move of its administrative and cultural centers southward, including the relocation of the Museum, which traded a... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/19

My Favorite Paintings at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara, Italy

Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Gallery) di Ferrara, also known as Palazzo dei Diamanti, named for its rusticated façade of diamond spikes, impressed with effortless elegance of the building and its collections. The first striking piece greeted visitors was an "Assunzione di Santa Maria Maddalena" by Maestro della Maddalena Assunta. The highly stylized landscape was an idealized world, where animals, plants, and humans mingled together in harmony. The low vantage point and the receding flat landscape helped to generate a visceral sense of witnessing Saint Mary flying up. Hovering... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/10

My Favorite Paintings at Castello Estense, Ferrara, Italy

The formidable and somewhat gloomy fortress, Castello Estense in Ferrara, Italy was surprisingly airy and even cheesy inside. Such as this whimsical ceiling painting, one of many, depicting carousing nude men and cherubim, who, despite in the drunken stage, allowed their stances and gestures to be regulated by some tidy order. Their pale flash tone worked really well against the elegant background of blue and pink walls and windows of a building façade, thus introduced another dimension of order and regulation. Finally, the fantastic drawn floral borders on milky colored bac... [more]
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/6