Friday, December 19, 2008

joyeuses fêtes!

" Baise m'encor, rebaise-moi et baise;
donne m'en un de tes plus savoureux,
donne m'en de tes plus amoureux:
je t'en rendrai quatre plus chauds que braise."

[from "Baise m'encor..." by Louise Labé, 1520-65]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

chevaux bien frappés

all "knock knock" jokes aside, door-knockers [and their accompanying doors] must be some of the most frequently photographed images in Paris...and every so often one will catch the eye with its intricacy of design and clever use of animal forms in the fashioning of the metal knocker...
to thump on this door with its ornate twin-horses marteau de porte is perhaps to gain entry into an other-worldly realm of decadent refinement and delicious intrigues...and hopefully, not to a boucherie chevaline!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

puppy love

an altar in the salon des chiens to honour the irresistible cuteness of puppies as presented by a contemporary ceramic sculpture by jeff koons and an 18th century painting of "la lice et ses petits" by jean-baptiste oudry...
in the musée de la chasse et de la nature, a museum dedicated to the art of hunting and to maintaining the "equilibrium" in nature, where many stuffed animals stare happily at human visitors...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the painterly life

a simple window display taunting us to cash it all in, unload our material possessions and follow our artistic inclinations... to live a life where the most important decision of the day is what size of canvas to use for that image you would like to paint, gather up some brushes and tubes of paint, and with not a care in the world...just what the whim of your subconscious will manifest...

Monday, November 10, 2008

sur un banc

dans un square sur un banc
il y a un homme qui vous appelle quand on passe...
il vous fait signe et rien personne
ne peut vous empêcher d'aller vous asseoir près de lui
alors il vous regarde et sourit
et vous souffrez atrocement...

[lines from 'Le Désespoir est assis sur un banc' by Jacques Prévert, Selections from 'Paroles']

Friday, October 31, 2008

la fille hollandaise

not a sexy halloween costume, but the launch of a line of dutch-inspired lingerie on comely live models...
how I love walking the streets of paris just to chance upon voluptuous sights such as this!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

la garde républicaine

[detail of painting]

la garde républicaine [2008]
oil and acrylic on canvas; 90 x 90 cm

the officers leading the cavalry back to their barracks on boulevard henri IV after the inaugural parade where the new monsieur le président had just relished his dream come true... we missed that part of the procession but we caught the tired horses on their way home for some well-deserved pampering on that auspicious day...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


the juxtaposition of the early 20th century sign for a popular liqueur with the rambling signature of a 21st century taggeur...look up for a bitter-sweet reminder of the paris of old, faint nostalgia for only a very few now...

Friday, October 10, 2008

canal saint-martin

canal saint-martin [2008]
oil and acrylic on canvas; 60 x 75 cm

along the canal saint-martin, the large plane trees shade a row of orange and red tents provided for the homeless... on this particular stretch the encampment is dwarfed by the highrise apartment buildings across the street, with the matching orange plexiglass balconies...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Likas Drive

Likas Drive [2008]
oil and acrylic on canvas; 75 x 90 cm

the ghostly apparition of my childhood home floats in a garden of tropical lushness...
my father built our first home in a quiet neighbourhood still inhabited by british ex-pats drinking gin tonics on their shady verandahs...
my bedroom upstairs overlooked the back garden where we planted papaya and mango trees, even a large pomelo; there were smaller bushes of mangosteen, custard apple, sapodilla, starfruit...
in the front garden was a mix of fragrant frangipanni, oleander, poinsettia, cascading morning glory on the trellis of the porch, hibiscus, periwinkle, bougainvillea, many species of orchids, and my favourite firecracker plant by the gate...

Friday, September 26, 2008

paris petits

one of the things I love most to do while in france is to eavesdrop on french-speaking children...there is something unbearably poignant and sweet in the sounds made by such melodic voices...["ponette", a movie with the most adorable little girl...]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


in the paris apartment where I stay, a framed drawing of a barely there giacometti stick man hovers above my head, rendering minimalist dreams in black and white after surrendering another day to the overwhelming stimuli that is planet paris...

[giacometti sculpture at the centre pompidou]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

l'esprit de l'escalier

I was once being insulted while I climbed up a flight of stairs [usually it is the other way round, when one thinks of a retort after one is already out the door and going down the staircase, as the case may be!]...I was so shocked that I could not think of a repartee until days later, and this was my "l'esprit de l'escalier": "Monsieur, it takes a very small man to feel the need to put a woman down."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


the lovely flowergirl pranced up and down the steps of the mairie in her elegant silk and tulle gown set off by cherry red hightops and a green plaster full arm colours at a warm june day wedding and a mischievous girl elf who can't quite contained her emerging eccentricities in a city full of such wondrous sights...

Friday, August 8, 2008


eight million light bubbles spark off the eiffel tower into the dark nebula of a paris night sky...
stop and wonder at the confluence of charmed lives that are all meant to be...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

boulevard arago

boulevard arago [2008]
oil and acrylic on canvas; 75 x 100 cm

known as a vespasienne, after the roman emperor VESPASIEN [9-79AD], who originated the brilliant idea of controlling and thereby squeeze-taxing urine dispersal through the installation of public urinals, this somewhat comical-looking descendant remains sadly the last existing 19th century monument to french piss in Paris...[the others having been eradicated due to overly popular usage for many-manly activities - ironically, this final unsavoury sample has been preserved outside the populous jailhouse La Santé on the boulevard Arago where guillotined heads had once rolled!]

[even though this particular model was commissioned a century before his time, there is an almost prouvesque elegance to the compact structure - especially since I have not emphasized the belle epoque flourishes in the metalwork - the overt functionality of the design can be seen as a prelude to modernist aspirations...]

Saturday, August 2, 2008


oil and acrylic on canvas; 75 x 90 cm

one of the cinemas that my father designed in the 1960' which I had watched many of the classics from the western cinematic repertoire...memorable films from Dr. Dolittle to Dr. Zhivago, from Disney fluff to James Bond buff...all forming my early exposure to american and european cultural dissemination, and inevitably leading to unrealistic and disillusioned expectations during my initial encounters of life in the canadian "wilderness"...

Monday, July 28, 2008

paris nues

"the brocade strings and reeds weave daily music,
half of it with the clouds, half river breezes:
for music such as this was meant for heaven,
how many times is man allowed to hear it?"
[TU FU, 761 AD]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

les nues du soir

"from the south sea did a guest appear
and give to me a mermaid's tear
and in that pearl there were cloudy signs:
I tried to unfurl what lay in those lines;"
[TU FU, 796]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

pleine lune

ferry me across the dark distance to this solitary pearl -
so still, so far...
in the full umbra of the alabaster moon, glowing pale fire, mild passions are smuggled and obscured for later disbursement...
on some other night when the moon hangs low again over the next reclaimed isle, softly lighting the steps down to the cimmerian sea.

[from 'once upon an alabaster moon' by g.verster, 2005]

Monday, July 21, 2008

la porte ottomane

an aeolian howl reverberates in the courtyard, rattles the portal doors...
a wisp of paper, leaf, soul brushes against the shutters, providently, just once...
a being in a darkened eyrie contemplates impromptu sounds through the wordless night...
stringendo compositions of derelict noise spiraling aloft...
...brushes up again...
continental elements held together by an unseen extempore force...
still out there fiercely corralling pieces of intangibility...
soon to disconnect and escape, air distrait in the morning light.

['a november wind' by g.verster, 2004]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

orangerie [parc andré-citroen]

orangerie [parc andré-citroen]
oil and acrylic on canvas; 75 x 100 cm

one of two glasshouse pavilions on the former site of the citroen automobile factory, now transformed into a hyper-rigid designed park on the south west flank of paris [patrick berger, gilles clément, jean-paul viguier, allain provost, jean-françois jodry et associés (1992-3)]
the exotic plant "temples" showcase a collection of tropical specimens, some of which brings me right back to the wild jungles of borneo...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

monument tpm

monument tpm
oil and acrylic on canvas; 90 x 120 cm
"This monument is erected by the people of Jesselton to the founding of Malaysia on 16th September 1963"...engraved on the plaque of this monument designed by my father and sponsored by the North Borneo Chinese Asssociation and the Jesselton Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
[Jesselton is now known as Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the state of Sabah, one of the two states of East Malaysia on the northern half of the island of Borneo]

Sunday, July 13, 2008


::the obscuration of an exterior wall by the tenacious willingness of vertically challenged plants to bond, survive and flourish against all odds, [thereby gracing the building envelope to encompass more than a uni-faceted function...]
[location:: Musée du Quai Branly, a new museum exhibiting primitive art and artifacts from non-European cultures, designed by Jean Nouvel (2005-07), and the "Mur Végétal" by Patrick Blanc (2007) on Quai Branly, 75007 Paris]
[originally published in the september/october, 2007 issue of FRONT journal of contemporary art and ideas]

Monday, July 7, 2008


::the adornment of a 17th century ceiling with segmented owl body parts composed into a gleeful montage as a measure of the ever devolving degradation of the wholesome natural world...
[location:: Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, a museum dedicated to the hunt and to nature in the Hôtel de Guénégaud designed by François Mansart (1652-55), Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris]
[originally published in the september/october 2007 issue of front journal of contemporary art and ideas]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

père lachaise::les monuments

light the first light of evening, as in a room in which we rest and, for small reason, think the world imagined is the ultimate good.
this, therefore, the intensest rendezvous. it is in that thought that we collect ourselves, out of all the indifferences, into one thing:
within a single thing, a single shawl wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth, a light, a power, the miraculous influence.
here, now, we forget each other and ourselves. we feel the obscurity of an order, a whole, a knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.
within its vital boundary, in the mind. we say god and the imagination are one... how high that highest candle lights the dark.
out of this same light, out of the central mind, we make a dwelling in the evening air, in which being there together is enough.
['final soliloquy of the interior paramour' by wallace stevens, 1954]

Sunday, June 1, 2008

rue de charonne

rue de charonne [2008] oil and acrylic on canvas; 90 x 120 cm
along the rue de charonne, one block has had a 1970's utilitarian apartment building inserted between older end bracing against a skinny 19th century building with le bistrot du peintre on the corner...the interplay of stylistic differences all the more stark in the sheer verticality of both...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

père lachaise::les symboles

"old styles, old tempos, all the engagement of the day -
the sedate, the regulated fray - the antique light, the moral rose, old gusts, tight whistlings from the past, the mothballs in the love at last our man forswore."
[from 'medgar evers' by gwendolyn brooks, 1968]

Saturday, May 24, 2008

paris rouge::les milieux

moroccan rose petal tea in the lush sleekness of the ysl salon privé...

gliding along the seine with a red steel box of secrets...

ascending to a mysterious rendez-vous at chez julien...

red walls and freeflow wicker::an unlikely combo for modernist architects...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

paris rouge::les objets

redo-rhino demagog-demigod guarding the temple of modern mod-art...

the holy receptacle of sacred water for precious futuristic gardens...

randomly thought-out nest chair for the poetically agitated...

for slow-paced adventures in the land of remnant-romantics...

les objets rouges of paris firing up serendipitous passion in spades...

Friday, May 16, 2008

paris rouge::les portes

behind the red portal doors the insistent ghost tend to her garden of occidental conceit...layered greenness draped with white roses, heavily scented, lightly virtuous, easily bruised...
the ghost poet looks out his window at the darkening of this jade canopy, elusive words clinging to torn pages...
the ghost artist hoards the hours of light, shifting images in pale grey strokes on another fresh canvas...
the ghost pianist lingers on notes that cry out for a sultry voice, a faithful orchestra, the lover who turns his back when the music begins to fade...
the ghost of the muses visits upon them all, at the vanquished hour, when the snow roses float in the moonlight and the portal doors creak open slightly to let in the river breeze...
the poet is lying fitfully on his nest of tangled lines, the pianist trembles in a mild state of satie fever, the painter in fragile sleep still dreams in flashes of luminous hues...
the gardener ghost drifts through her vernal nightscape, fading in and out of the dawning mist, entangled in the reaching branches...

'behind the red portal doors' by g.verster, 2008