I just put together a group of work, on the theme of legend and mythology (both Chinese and Western.)
Myth, Legend and Religious stories have always served as the inspiration for art creations. Having lived in China and the US, I was drawn to the mythology from both eastern and western cultures.
Over the past nine years, I have created several oil paintings based on Greek myth, Chinese legend and Judeo-Christian doctrine.
Below is the list of the work and the links to the images on my web site ( www.matthewfelixsun.com )
Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 30″, Completed in 2005
Minotaur, as I saw it, was a tragic figure, who was condemned and trapped by fate to his horrible condition and savageries. He welcomed his slayer Theseus, who was approaching fast in a galley. Holding Ariadne’s thread, which will help Theseus to leave his labyrinth, Minotaur pondered on his imminent death and anticipated his own relief with trepidation and anticipation. A large tear rolled down his face, monstrous and beautiful.
Oil on Canvas, 30″ x 40″, Completed in 2009
A more or less straightforward rendition of the metamorphosis of Daphne into a laurel tree. Hands and arms of Daphne and the golden torso of Apollo dominated the canvas. In the background, the killing of Daphne’s playmate Leukippos by the jealous Apollo and the chasing of Daphne were simultaneously portrayed, to complete the whole cycle of the story.
Oil on Canvas, 48″ x 24″, Completed in 2003
I put Sisyphus in the most hard to sustain position, to emphasis the difficulty and impossibility of his task and punishment.
Adam and Eve
Oil on Canvas, 30″ x 40″, Completed in 2008
Adam and Eve were portrayed as sad and resigned figures. Adam cast down his eyes, as if he was trying to avoid eye contact with viewers, or his judges, while Eve reached out to Adam tentatively with right hand, whilst shielding her guilty face with her left hand. A heavy, lead-colored cloud hanging directly above them, shaped like a giant question mark. It also functioned like Damocles’ sword, threatening to crush them both.
Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 48″, Completed in 2002
Virgin Mary, on learning her pregnancy by the holy spirit, wailed for herself and the fate of her unborn son Jesus. She howled in grief beyond console. Perhaps, she was grieving for the entirety of humanity – by then, she must have learned the burden on her shoulders.
Jingwei Filling Up the Sea
Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 36″, Completed in 2008
Jingwei, in Chinese mythology, perished at a young age in the East Sea. After her death she chose to assume the shape of a bird in order to exact revenge upon the sea by bringing stones and small twigs from the mountains nearby over the sea in an effort to fill it up. Jingwei even has a short dialogue with the sea where the sea scoffs her, claiming that she wouldn’t be able to fill it up even in a million years, whereupon she claims that she will then proceed to take ten million years, even one hundred million years, whatever it takes to fill up the sea so that others would not have to perish as she did.
Again, I grouped a few events together to contain the cycle of the story in one canvas. The predominant feature is a sad fish with large tear. Here, the struggle is between elements and human activity and I tried to give sympathy to both.
Nüwa Creating Humans
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 40″
Completed in 2007
Nüwa is a goddess in ancient Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the wall of heaven. This painting is the tribute to my heritage. What can be more fitting then credit a female god as the creator of humans? The sad twist in this canvas is that the humans she created resembled, unfortunately, robots. No creation would be perfect.
Nüwa Patching Up the Sky
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 30″
Completed in 2006
Two powerful gods quarreled and caused the collapse of the pillar which supported the sky and rain powered down to drown the living creatures on earth. This is the independent corroboration of the deluge in the Bible. Nüwa cut off the legs of a giant tortoise and used them to supplant the fallen pillar, alleviating the situation and sealing the broken sky using stones of seven different colors, but she was unable to fully correct the tilted sky. This explains the phenomenon that sun, moon, and stars move towards the northwest, and that rivers in China flow southeast into the Pacific Ocean. She also melted five-colored boulders to seal off the cracks of the sky. Other versions of the story describe Nüwa going up to heaven and filling the gap with her body (half human half serpent) and thus stopping the flood. The image I put forth was an earth-toned large woman, floating against cobalt blue boulders and running water in between, struggling to maintain her balance, in order to finish her Herculean (or shall we say,
Matthew Felix Sun