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Photo by Sean Hacker Teper/ National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Photo by Sean Hacker Teper/ National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This photo, taken by Sean Hacker Teper, was one of the finalists in the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.  This photo, taken at the End of the World swing in Banos, Ecuador, captures a man on the swing overlooking an erupting Mt. Tungurahua on February 1st of this year.   Shortly after the photo was taken, the area was evacuated because of an incoming ash cloud.

This photo captured my eye immediately.  It reminds me of a Maxfield Parrish painting with the blue of its sky and the way the sunlight illuminates the spewing ash cloud and the trees in the foreground.   The swinging man’s posture along with the color and airiness give this a sense of whimsy and delight that makes an interesting contrast to the sense of fear and wonder produced by the erupting volcano.

To see the rest of the top photos from this contest, click here.  There are some amazing shots.

 

Winslow Homer- Watching the Breakers

Winslow Homer- Watching the Breakers

When you say homer in Cooperstown, you would normally think of the Baseball Hall of Fame located there.  But until August 24th, the Fenimore Art Museum has an exhibit of paintings from American master Winslow Homer from the Arkell Museum collection.

We took a quick jaunt out to Cooperstown yesterday to see this exhibit and were pleased with the scope of the show which showed fine examples from all the phases of his career.  It had some of his illustration paintings from the Civil War, seascapes in oil and watercolor and his  light filled tropical watercolors.  It really gave you an idea of how talented he was across mediums and how well he controlled the  light in his work.

My personal favorite was  On the Beach, featured below.  It was panned critically in its time, generally for all the things that make it feel vibrant in a contemporary sense– primarily its almost abstract composition of bands of color.

Japanese Prints at the Fenimore

Japanese Prints at the Fenimore

However, for as much as we liked the Homer show, it was group of Japanese woodblock prints that really caught our eyes.  It hung in the same space that held my 2012 show and it transformed the space completely.  Inspired by the local but widely renowned Glimmerglass Opera‘s production of Madame Butterfly, this group of prints,  some from Hiroshige and Hokusai, shows Japan as it made the transition into modernity at in the latter half of the 19th century.   It’s enlightening and elegant at once.

There is also a fine group of historically based paintings of New York state from painter L.F, Tantillo.  They are extraordinarily detailed and luminous in the way they are painted.  A really unexpected delight as you head down to see the Thaw Collection, the museum’s famous collection of American Indian art masterpieces.

So, if you are in central NY any time soon, I really urge you to take a side trip to Cooperstown.  There’s baseball and great art in one lovely lakeside village.  What more could you ask?

Winslow Homer- On the bEach

Winslow Homer- On the bEach

L.F. Tantillo- Manhattan Sunset

L.F. Tantillo- Manhattan Sunset

 

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
–Thomas Hardy
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1994 Bottle Factory - GC MyersI came across a group of work the other day and realized that they were from a week almost exactly twenty years ago when I had worked on them.  For instance, the piece above was done twenty years ago yesterday.   The sheer idea of twenty years passing seemed fantastic in the moment.  So much has happened and so many things changed over that time yet I still feel new in what I am doing, still feel like the person who looked with wonder at the painting above.

GC Myers the-heights 1994There have been only a few moments, most in the last year or so, when this passing of time has fully sunk in and I feel as though I am a veteran at what I do, feel as though I am what might be termed an established artist.  Maybe seeing these pieces will cement that feeling in place.

Looking at them, I can see my  confidence burgeoning in my work as I began to better understand the materials I worked with and how to control them.  It was all about learning control at that time.  At the time these were painted I was still torn over how and what I would paint.  I still didn’t fully understand the importance of personal vision and was only trying to harmonize forms and color in a pleasing way.   The  work still captured emotion but it was simply a by-product of being immersed in the process so deeply that it could not help but reflect what I was feeling internally.

As I said, I still feel very much like that same person from twenty years ago.  Outside of my marriage, this is the only thing that I have stuck at for so long and that is probably due to the ever-changing  and constant sense of newness and wonder it produces.  That same feeling that I felt years ago when I painted these is still felt today when I work on something new.  Thankfully, that is one thing that has not changed.

GC Myers factory-view 1994

Hold On

GC Myers- Observers (with frame)Sunday morning and I think I’m much more decompressed than yesterday morning after the show.  All back to normal, whatever that is.  This show has made me think on a wide variety of subjects, about purpose and meaning beyond what I see in the work as well the potential for legacy in these paintings– would they endure into the future?

A good friend stopped in the studio yesterday and we talked for a moment about the subject of legacy.  I pointed out that legacy is a big if for any artist and that I can only do what I do — where it ends up in the future is something that is far beyond my own control.  It could be in enduring collections or it could be in garage sales and dumpsters– you never know what the vagaries and tastes of the future hold.  I witness this all of the time when I go through the  records from the auction houses and see painters who were celebrated in their time who are now basically unknown.  Their work sells for a pittance, far below what one might expect from reading about their fame when alive.

As an artist, you can only hope that your work has a transcendent quality that allows it to live out of the time of its creator and be of the time in which it is viewed.  I don’t know how you do that outside of maintaining consistency in your own vision and hoping that it is one that somehow speaks to those in the future.  But there is always the question  that if your work does move ahead, does maintain life and attracts future collectors, what would your legacy work be?

I know that this a fool’s game– no one has the ability to predict that future for their own work.  You can’t be objective when you are so close to it, can’t discern your own personal feelings for it from how it reads to the outer world.  But there are pieces that I see that nag at me, that have a weight that tells me that they may be vital pieces in a potential legacy.  Pieces that I could see easily living in the future.  There are a number in the current show, including the piece above, Observers.

These pieces have an intangible quality that I wish I could more fully understand so that I could better describe it.  Or capture in a way  so that it would be in all of my work.  There is just something that seems beyond me, something that is beyond this time.

Could I be wrong?  Of course.  I have been wrong many times in the past and will no doubt be wrong in the future.  But for my work I can hope that in this instance I am correct and that they hold on.

Actually, this was all just an elaborate lead in for a little Sunday  morning music , some soul stirring from the Alabama Shakes and lead singer Brittany Howard.  It is a song titled, of course, Hold On.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday After

GC Myers-Led to Gold smWell, I’m in the midst of my Saturday morning decompression after a show.  It’s a period of trying to gather all the bits and pieces of conversation, names and faces into some sort of order so that they remain in my memory in a coherent form.  It’s a struggle and I find myself fretting over the faces and names that might have slipped through the sieve of my memory.  So, I try to relive some of the previous night in my mind,  hoping to jog my memory in some way.

It was a nice turnout for the opening, actually better than expected given the events taking place in town at the same time.  Many thanks to everyone who stopped in at the West End Gallery, especially to those who made special efforts to attend.  And a special thank you to Linda and Jesse at the gallery for the hard work they put into that gallery, against all odds maintaining  a nurturing space that allows artists such as myself a place to show their work in their home area.  The work they do often goes unnoticed and unappreciated but plays a vital role in maintaining the cultural vibrancy in a region that has struggled mightily in the economic sense over the past decades.  So, from those who attended  to Lin and Jesse, I am ever appreciative of everyone who took part in last night’s opening.  Your support has carried me through a lot of rough patches through the now almost twenty years of showing my work at the West End.

I am so grateful.  Thank you…

 

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.
- Saint Augustine
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GC Myers- The Richness of the Moment This new painting, a 20″ by 24″ canvas,  is titled The Richness of the Moment .  It was one of the last of the paintings finished for the Layers show which opens tonight at the West End Gallery.   I saw the show hanging together for the first time yesterday and this piece hangs in a group of paintings along the back wall of the space that glows like a bank of  backlit stained glass windows.  There is a luminosity and richness to these pieces that fills that space with warmth.   This work has just the effect as I had hoped it might have when I was looking at it in the studio.
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I think this painting has a richness in it just as its title implies but it is the type of richness that Saint Augustine might have been  referring to in the passage above.  We often search wide and far for new wonders but don’t see the rich tapestry that is right before us in our own lives.  There is wonderment to be found in almost everything we see or touch– it is only its constant presence that has made it seem ordinary and unremarkable to us.  But if we pause to take in the world that within our reach at that moment with a greater awareness and appreciation, the richness becomes apparent.  Each life has the potential for wonder and each moment that may seem ordinary has an element of the sacred within it.
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This painting, at least in my eyes, embodies this thought.  It is simply composed and stated– its subject is absolutely unremarkable at first blush.  But the colors and the juxtaposition of forms and tones that make this piece take on that feeling of the wonder in the surrounding richness to which I referred.
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The Sacred Ordinary.
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I hope you can make it in to the West End Gallery at some point over the course of the next month– the exhibit hangs until August 29th– to judge this for yourself.  The opening reception begins at 4:30 and runs until 7:30 today, Friday, July 25.  I will be in attendance for the duration to answer any questions you might have about the work.  Hope to see you there!

Blue Zone

GC Myers- Blue Zone

I wanted to take a bit of a break from writing about tomorrow’s opening of my show, Layers, at the West End Gallery.  But while I was planning to just feature a song here today I found that this painting from the show, Blue Zone, fit in with the feel of the song I had selected, What’s Going On, from the late, great Marvin Gaye.

There’s a tiny figure standing alone on the horizon outside the house under a  segmented sky with a blue sun above.  It’s a piece that has both an inviting warmth and a feeling of alienation as the figure seems overwhelmed by the strangeness of this world.  I can almost hear him saying, … tell me, what’s going on

This song from Marvin Gaye, one of the more elegant songs of protest, is one that is old enough that it sometimes slips from memory.  But  simply hearing that saxophone come in at the beginning and Gaye’s silky smooth voice following it is an ample reminder that this is truly a great song.

Enjoy and have a great day…

 

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