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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…

 

Archaeology: All We Leave Behind

Archaeology: All We Leave Behind

As the title suggests, there are a few paintings from my Strata and Archaeology series in the Layers show that opens Friday at the West End Gallery.  The piece above, Archaeology: All We Leave Behind, is a 12″ by 24″ canvas is the latest and perhaps last entry in the Archaeology series.

I am considering retiring this series that started back in 2008 although I can’t say I won’t revisit it at some distant point in the future.  It has been a series of paintings that has been among my favorites, both in painting and in delving deeper into them, as well as being important to my development as an artist.  When I first started the series, it came at point when I was in need of inspiration and was questioning my future as an artist.  These paintings gave me footing, a firm base to rest on while I gathered what I needed to move on.

Looking at these pieces, I am almost always surprised when I get to inspect the underground artifacts.  So many of the items  were painted  without any forethought or afterthought so once they were done and I had moved on to the next item in the debris field, they sometimes escaped my notice of their singularity.  They just became part of a larger pattern of forms and color.  But going back and looking at the items later gives me little surprises that sometimes make me smile and sometimes scratch my head, wondering what the hell some not quite recognizable thing is or what I might have meant by its inclusion.

But all things must come to an end, which is actually the theme of this series.  And this piece, which took over a year to complete as I worked on it a bit at a time,  seems like a fitting end.  And if it does end up being the last in its line, what better place to show it than where my little journey as a painter began back in 1995, the West End Gallery.

Here’s another Archaeology piece in the show, Archaeology: Formed in the Past,  one from a few years back that has a favorite of mine from the minute it was completed:

Archaeology: Formed in the Past

Archaeology: Formed in the Past

Energized

The human individual lives usually far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. He energizes below his maximum, and he behaves below his optimum. . . . it is only an inveterate habit — the habit of inferiority to our full self.

– William James

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GC Myers- EnergizedThis is Energized, an 18″ by 36″ canvas that is part of the show opening Friday at the West End Gallery.  It was finished in the last days of preparing for the show and immediately lit up the studio with its bold colors and bands of texture that spin across it.  Even though it seemed  calm and placid in demeanor, it seemed filled with energy to me, every aspect of it appearing vibrant.

It was a struggle coming to terms with this combination of calmness and energy when I was searching for a title.  But reading the words above from American philosopher/psychologist William James brought it all into focus for me.  The painting was about being energized in an inner sense, using that energy to reach one’s highest potential and to live in each moment with great vitality.

I think the sun plays a symbolic part here representing the circular and regenerative nature of energy.  We often think of energy being used up like fuel being burned but often energy begets energy.  Effort creates inspiration and opportunity that brings forth new energy, forces that we never realized were waiting in store because we had avoided pushing to live at our optimum level, had  not dared to be our full self.

So Energized seemed like a natural at least in my interpretation of this painting.  You may see it differently and that is as it should be.  Hope ypu can make it out to the West End Gallery to make your own decision.

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