Dương Xuân Quyền

Paintings by Dương Xuân Quyền

Born in the Son Duong district of Vietnam in 1987, Dương Xuân Quyền is an artist and educator currently working at Tan Trao University in Tuyen Quang, Vietnam. He is a graduate of the Fine Arts Program at the Hanoi National University of Education. 

Dương Xuân Quyền works in the Vietnamese tradition of carved-woodblock printing on black paper as a familiar way to express the contemporary issue of gay relationships to the public. Having produced the initial print work, Quyền then enriches the image with colors from acrylic or oil paints. His current work contains images of male couples as well as lush, tropical scenes of natural habitat. 

From 2011 to 2015, Quyền regularly participated in the Northwest-Viet Bac Exhibition, one of the seven regional contemporary art exhibitions in the country. He also organized a 2015 group exhibition entitled “Sac Autumn” at Hanoi’s Exhibition Hall 16 in Ngo Quyen. 

Dương Xuân Quyền had his first solo exhibition in 2017 entitled “Love People of the Same Sex”, a collection consisting of twenty-two paintings and embellished wood-carved etchings on paper. In his work, he used tropical foliage and water taro leaves as the background for his presentations of male couples in romantic poses. 

In 2020, Quyền won the Third-Place Prize at the Northwestern Fine Arts Exhibition-Region III exhibition for his series “Delayed Appointment I,II,III”. In 2021, he again entered the same exhibition and won another Third-Place Prize, this time for his series “My Side Tells Stories About the Days Apart I, II, III”. Quyền’s second solo exhibition was held in Hanoi in 2022 and entitled “Vertical Flowers”. The show consisted of twenty-eight, large oil and acrylic paintings which depicted Duoc Mung leaves, a native plant well-known to the public. 

Insert Image: Dương Xuân Quyền, “Awakening Lovers”, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Images of Dương Xuân Quyềns artwork can be found at his Instagram site located at: https://www.instagram.com/xuanquyenstudio/?hl=en

Hendrik Christian Andersen

The Sculptural Works of Hendrik Christian Andersen

Born in Bergen in April of 1872, Hendrik Christian Andersen was a Norwegian-American sculptor, painter and urban planner. The younger brother of painter Andreas Martin Andersen, he moved in 1873 as an infant with his family to Newport, Rhode Island. As a young man, Andersen worked as a sculptor and served as an art instructor to prominent social figure Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who was a sculptor and both patron and collector of the arts.

In 1893, Hendrik Andersen traveled to Europe to study art. In Paris, he met his older brother Andreas and student painter John Briggs Potter. The three of them traveled for a year through Europe and resided in Florence for some time at the end of their tour. In 1894 at their Florence residence, Andreas Andersen painted a portrait scene of both Hendrik and John Potter rising from sleep, entitled “Hendrik Andersen and John Briggs Potter in Florence”

Now settled in Rome in 1899, Hendrik Andersen met the American expatriate writer, Henry James, who is regarded as a prominent transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism. Although James was thirty years older, the two men developed a close relationship and maintained correspondence for fifteen years. James, enamored with the sculptor, become one of his first patrons by buying Andersen’s painted terracotta bust of the twelve-year old Count Alberto Bevilacqua who regularly visited every Saturday at Andersen’s studio.

Henry James’s letters to Andersen, seventy-seven of which are in the University of Virginia’s library, show a high level of affection and sensual love for Anderson. James’s letter of condolence for the death of Andreas Andersen in 1902 expresses his grief as well as his love: “to put my arm round you and make you lean on me as a brother and a lover, and keep you on and on. . .”. However, as Andersen’s replies are not available, their actual relationship can not be definitely determined.

After Andreas Andersen’s death, his widow Olivia Cushing traveled to Rome to stay at Hendrik Andersen’s residence for discussions on the commemoration of Andreas’s life and work. Hendrik’s conception for a sculpted funeral monument grew into an idea for a Palace of Arts, and then further progressed into a plan for a World City full of sculptures, museums, and galleries. In 1813, Andersen published his “A World Centre of Communication”, a tome about social and spiritual renewal through the arts, with an emphasis on sculpture.

This tome alienated James who felt that Andersen was pursuing a megalomaniacal version of society at a time when Italy was under the rise of Fascism. By 1915, they both had ceased correspondence. Before his death, Henry James burned many of his papers, including pieces of correspondence. After James’s death, Andersen approached the James estate in 1930 for permission to publish the letters he had received: however, permission was refused. These letters were not available publicly until 2000.

Olivia Cushing Andersen came from a wealthy family with residences in both Newport, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts. In her own right, she was cultured and had amassed an extensive collection of art and rare books. Upon her death in Rome in December of 1917, she left a large sum of money to Hendrik Andersen. He used this inheritance to build a villa as part of his World City idea. Between 1922 and 1925, Villa Helene was built to Andersen’s design with an immense carving studio in the nearby Piazza del Popolo. 

Henrik Andersen worked in this studio until his death in December of 1940. Over his lifetime, he executed more than four hundred pieces of both plaster models and stone or bronze sculpture, many of which were monumental figurative works of larger than life size. Upon his death, Andersen bequeathed all of his work to the Italian State, only stipulating that Villa Helene be made available to his model and adopted sister, Lucie, until her death.

Upon Lucia’s death in 1979, the villa became state property and is now the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum, located on Via Pasquale Stanislao Mancini in Rome. The museum houses all the papers and collected works of Hendrik Christian Andersen, which include sketches, models in plaster and bronze, as well as paintings by his brother Andreas and other contemporary artists of that time.

Notes: A collection of letters from Henry James to Hendrik Andersen can be found in Rosella Mamoli Zorzi’s “Henry James: Beloved Boy: Letters to Hendrik C. Andersen”. The book is available through many vendors.

A collection of six letters from Henry James to Hendrik Andersen, along with a short description of Henry James’s life, can be found at Rictor Norton’s Gay History and Literature site. There is however an error in the description of the Andreas Andersen’s painting; the seated figure is not Andreas Andersen but John Briggs Potter. The letters can be found at: https://rictornorton.co.uk/jameshen.htm

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Hendrik Christian Andersen”

Second Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “James Henry and Hendrik Andersen”, 1907

Third and Fourth Insert Images: Sculptures by Hendrik Christian Andersen, Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen

The Heliodor Tree Frog

Hans-Jürgen Henn and Alfred Zimmermann, “Heliodor Tree Frog”, Date Unknown, Heliodor and Gold, 15 cm in Height, Henn Gems

Designed by Hans-Jürgen Henn and Alfred Zimmermann, the “Heliodor Tree Frog” was intricately fashioned by master gemstone carver Alfred Zimmermann. The frog and its perch was carved from richly colored Ukrainian heliodor, a member of the beryl family known for its hexagonal crystals, vitreous luster, and range of color. The amphibian’s gemstone perch is set on a base of eighteen-carat yellow gold; the combined materials allude to the various textures of an exotic tree trunk in the wild.  

One of the most renowned lapidary artists of the last several decades, Alfred Zimmerman is a member of an Idar-Oberstein family of gemstone carvers. Originally an apprentice of Gerd Dreher, a fourth-generation stone carver, Alfred Zimmerman is also known for working in the “Fabergé” tradition. Zimmerman’s frequent subjects are either soldiers or peasants in folkloric attire but he is well known for animal carvings of transparent crystalline minerals. Zimmermann has recently retired after a long career of finely executed sculptures.

The third-generation of the Henn family in the gemstone trade, Hans-Jürgen Henn has over fifty years of experience in the trade. From an early age, he combined his passion for precious stones with mountaineering, during which he was always searching for the rare and undiscovered. Henn, the first to coin the expression Kashmir Peridot, had the passion and foresight to preserve the Dom Pedro Aquamarine as a single, dramatic stone. This stone, the largest aquamarine ever cut, was fashioned by Bernd Munsteiner, and gifted to the Smithsonian Institute in 2011.  

For information on exhibitions, jewelry, and objects of art, the Henn Gemstone website is located at: https://henngems.de/home/

Masatsugu

Masatsugu, ‘Carved Ivory Okimono Boar’, 19th Century, Signed, Japan

An Okimono may be a small Japanese carving, similar to, but larger than netsuke. Unlike netsuke which had a specific purpose, okimono were purely decorative and were displayed in the tokonoma, a small recessed display area in the house. An okimono can be made out of wood, ivory, ceramic or metal. They were normally not larger than a few centimetres and depicted all sorts of animals, mythological beasts, humans, gods, fruit, vegetables and objects, sometimes combined with each other, in all sorts of positions.

Masatsugu was the name of one of the most famous artist carvers in Osaka, Japan.

Cat Netsuke

Carved Ivory Cat Netsuke

Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.

The solution was to place such objects in containers (called sagemono) hung by cords from the robes’ sashes (obi). The containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes (inrō), which were held shut by ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke.

Netsuke, like the inrō and ojime, evolved over time from being strictly utilitarian into objects of great artistic merit and an expression of extraordinary craftsmanship. Such objects have a long history reflecting the important aspects of Japanese folklore and life. Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo period in Japan, around 1615–1868. Today, the art lives on, and some modern works can command high prices in the UK, Europe, the USA, Japan and elsewhere.

Yoshitoshi Kanemaki

Skeletal Sculptures by Yoshitoshi Kanemaki

Based out of Chiba Prefecture, Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki carves life-size sculptures from camphor wood, but with a twist of mortality and transience. The disturbing pieces hinge often hinge on grotesque as the combination of the bulging weight and density of wood heightens the certainty of death that looms over all his creations.

Kenneth Erik Moffatt

Kenneth Erik Moffatt, “God and Goddess of Teviot with Their Kelpies”

Kenneth Erik Moffatt is a sculptor and free style carver of wood living and working in Teviothead, England. He works directly into the wood, without any  preparatory drawings, adding to the carvings as his inspiration dictates.

Top Three Photos: Roof Corbel, Oak. The head of the River God Teivi, crowned with the moon and oak leaves. Interwoven in his flowing hair, are two leaping salmon, based upon “Border Reiver” graffiti, from the walls of the prison cells in Carlisle castle.

Fourth and Fifth Photos: Roof Corbel, Oak. The head of the River Goddess, embodiment of the Celtic Goddess Sulis, crowned with the Moon, hazel leaves and nuts, and adorned at the throat with hazel catkins. Also present are her two attendant spirits, a bird, and the mischievous squirrel “ratatosk,” one of the inhabitants of the “Tree of Life.”  The nine sacred hazel trees, are representative of the spring where the waters rise in Scottish folk legend.

Bottom Two Photos: Roof Corbels, Oak. Kelpies. Water Horses.

Angelico and Isais Jimenez

Angelico and Isais Jimenez, Mythical Mexican Beasts, Carved Wood

Angelico and Isais Jimenez  are the sons of Manuel Jimenez, the founder of the Oaxaca School of Mexican carved and painted animals. Though relatively unknown outside of Mexico, their work is excellent and available for sale.

Further information on their work can be found at: https://www.fofa.us/woodcarving/2

A J Fosik

Wood Sculptures by AJ Fosik

AJ Fosik was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. In 2003, he received a BFA in Illustration from Parsons School of Design in New York City. He is currently based in Portland, Oregon. Fosik’s work has been exhibited in galleries across the country including New York, Philadelphia, Miami and San Francisco. He has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Brooklyn Rail and Tokion. In 2011, Fosik was commissioned by Mastodon to create artwork for the cover of their album, The Hunter. The band’s music video featured the artist working in his studio on the piece.

Garuda

Bayan Gandung, “White Garuda Mask”, Indonesia

Garuda is the vahana, or the carrier, of Lord Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle’s beak and with a crown on his head. He was said to be massive, large enough to block out the sun.

His stature in Hindu religion can be gauged by the fact that a dependent Upanishad, the Garudopanishad, and a Purana, the Garuda Purana, is devoted to him. Various names have been attributed to Garuda – Chirada, Gaganeshvara, Kamayusha, Kashyapi, Khageshvara, Nagantaka, Sitanana, Sudhahara, Suparna, Tarkshya, Vainateya, Vishnuratha and others. The Vedas provide the earliest reference of Garuda, though by the name of Śyena, where this mighty bird is said to have brought nectar to earth from heaven.

However, the interesting thing is that Garuda is the Sankarshna form of the lord who during creation primarily possesses the knowledge aspect of the lord (among Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha forms). The important point is that Garuda represents the five vayus within us : prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana through his five forms Satya, Suparna, Garuda, Tarkshya, Vihageshwara. These five vayus through yoga can be controlled through Pranayama which can lead to Kundalini awakening leading to higher levels of consciousness.

Thanks to http://www.worldtribalmasks.com

Bill Reid

Bill Reid, “Raven and The First Men”, 1980, Yellow Cedar, .University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology

Canadian artist Bill Reid was born in Victoria, British Columbia, in January of 1920. His father was of Scottish-German descent and his mother was from the Raven/Wolg Clan of T’anuu, known as the Haida, one of the First Nations of the Pacific coast. Reid studied jewelry making at the Ryerson Institute of Technology and Haida art from his grandfather.

In 1951 Reid returned to Vancouver, where he established a studio on Granville Island, a suburban area of Vancouver. He became very interested in the artworks of his great-great-uncle Charles Edenshaw, a renowned Haida artist. As a result, Reid’s work began incorporating his ancestors’ visual traditions and mythology into his contemporary style.

“Raven and The First Men” depicts part of a Haida creation myth with the raven representing the Trickster. In this creation story, the raven Trickster opens an oyster shell on the beach to find the first Humans. The Raven coaxed them to leave the shell to join him in his wonderful world. Some of the humans were hesitant at first, but they were overcome by curiosity and eventually emerged from the partly open giant clamshell to become the first Haida.

The sculpture was carved from a giant block of laminated yellow cedar. The carving took two years to complete and was dedicated on April 1, 1980. A number of First Nation carvers also worked on the project, including Reggie Davidson, Jim Hart, and Gary Edenshaw. Working on the emerging little humans in the latter stages was Geroge Rammell, a sculptor in his own right. Bill Reid did most of the finishing carving.