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‘From Russia with Love’ art show is journey of metaphors

For The Oklahoman
Modified: July 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm •  Published: July 13, 2012

It’s a little hard to know how to approach an exhibit of metaphysical, surreal, spiritual and technically excellent oil paintings that “tell a story” and sometimes seem to have almost “too much information.”

But this near over-abundance of visual riches for those who visit Pavel Wang Yu Tsai’s “From Russia With Love” show at Paseo Originals Art Gallery, 2920 Paseo, is a problem most artists and art fans might well envy.

Born in 1956 in Kyrgyzstan, Yu Tsai, who is visiting Oklahoma City and doesn’t speak English, will attend a closing reception for the show with a translator from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 28.

Sand runs out of the hourglass of an angelic figure, standing in the water near a pair of shell-scales, on which a small, sunlit figure and a grimacing classical mask are balanced in Yu Tsai’s “New Century.”

Done in the mid-1990s, this oil was based on the artist’s hope that innocent suffering would become a thing of the past in the new millennium, a gallery note for the “retrospective of fantasy” said.

A white-robed, Christlike figure, standing in a boat, rows over a lily pond, toward a radiant figure, seated like Buddha on the opposite bank, or in the sky, in “Siddhartha,” based on Hermann Hesse’s novel.

Nearly demonic looking bald men’s heads crowd around to ogle the bare feet of a robed person with a stave, stepping on hot coals, in “Walking Man,” is a metaphor for the difficult path we all take.

A man rises from a manhole in a forest clearing, looking upward to a second manhole, partly open to reveal the starry night sky, in a science fiction-like oil called “Roaming Inside Yourself II.”

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