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GC Myers- Endless Time 2008



The piece above, Endless Time, has long been what I consider perhaps my favorite orphan, having never found a home. Painted in 2008, it’s currently at the West End Gallery for one last public viewing. It has made a few rounds of the galleries over the years but always came home to me. And while I was sad that it never struck a similar chord with someone who wished to give it a home, I was always pleased– almost excited– to have it return. It’s a piece that I consider a link to my earliest works, a reminder of the inner forces that drove me into the work I now do.

For me, it is an elemental piece.

Back in 2009, I wrote in a blogpost here about this painting:

This is really a direct descendent from my earliest work that focused on open spaces and blocks of color, work that was meant to be spare and quiet. The weight of the piece is carried by the abstract qualities of the landscape and the intensity of the colors.

With this piece, I have chosen to forego the kinship that the red tree often fosters with the viewer, acting as a sort of greeter inviting them to enter and feel comfortable within the picture plane. In Endless Time the viewer is left to their own devices when they enter the picture. There is no place to hide, no cover. They are exposed to the weight of the sky and the roll of the landscape. They are alone with not a sound nor distraction.

It becomes, at this point, a meditation. One is not merely looking at a landscape. To go into this painting one must be willing to look inside themselves as well.

This painting, like much of my early work, was in large part influenced by a piece of music, Tabula Rasa, from the great contemporary composer Arvo Pärt. It’s a piece that speaks of empty spaces and the meditative quality of silences. The purpose of my work as I saw it at that time was to find silence, to find a sanctuary from the cacophony and discord of civilization. That is still very much the case although the work has evolved in other ways.

I thought for this morning I would share another composition from Arvo Pärt which I think also very much fits this piece. It is titled Spiegel im Spiegel which translates from the German as Mirror in the Mirror. Think of an Infinity Mirror where two mirrors facing one another produce an image that is endlessly reflected back upon itself in ever smaller variations until it finally disappears. In some ways, some art serves as an infinity mirror of sorts, I know that this piece does so for me.

So give a listen but be warned that this is a quiet and meditative piece performed with only a piano and cello. If you’re looking for a toe-tapper or a sing-along, you might be disappointed. But like sometimes looking at art, one’s openness and patience is rewarded.



This post was adapted from a prior version that ran back in 2016.



Opulenta

GC Myers-Opulenta 2021

Opulenta“- Now at the Principle Gallery



I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.

― Ptolemy, Ptolemy’s Almagest



This is a new painting that is part of my current solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery. It’s called Opulenta which refers to the richness of its colors which I see as a reminder of the richness of the world in which we live. A richness which we often overlook in our haste to get through our days and lives.

We are blessed with the infinite wealth and beauty of the universe always within our reach if only we pull ourselves away from the trivial and take notice of this miracle. It lightens our load and, as Ptolemy points out, lifts our feet from this mortal earth and takes us to higher planes of being.

You know, partying with Zeus and scarfing down some sweet ambrosia. That kind of thing.

I kid about that part but I understand his intent. I am as guilty as anyone in sometimes overlooking the opulence in which we exist. But I do know the experience to which he refers.

We might be better caretakers if we could understand the treasure entrusted to us in this world.

Now, where is that Zeus? I haven’t had my breakfast yet and that ambrosia sounds pretty darn good.



9921069 Opulenta Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog Page

Dad Christmas Party 1940 closeupAnother Father’s Day. This year is the first since my dad died this past October. It’s not that other Father’s Days were big sentimental celebrations. It was never like that in our family.

But this year just feels a bit different. More retrospective than those in the past, I guess, which is how the time since his death has been, sorting through memories and the very few artifacts of his life he left behind. Trying to find small hints of his reality.

I say that because he was sort of an enigma. I got the feeling that you never knew the whole story about him, that he was always holding something back. Probably from all those years he played poker, not wanting to show his hand too early for fear of losing his advantage. He grew up tough and poor so anything he could do to hold onto an edge over anyone was important. 

As a result, he wasn’t quick to share feelings or memories. You only gleaned glimpses and facets over time and would have to stich them together like a quilt. Even then you couldn’t be sure if you were getting the full picture.

The quilt I have assembled of him is surely different than those of my sister or brother. Though we shared many memories and experiences with him, we all had many unique ones that shaped our individual perspectives of him.

The picture shown here is the only photo of him as a child that I know of. Taken from an old newspaper that I came across a few years ago, it’s from a Christmas party put on by the student nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital for the neighborhood kids on Elmira’s eastside in 1940. He died not more than a block from where this photo was taken. He was seven years old when he was part of this makeshift group of carolers.

Still wide-eyed and innocent.

Like I said, he was an enigma and will most likely stay that way in my mind, at least. I knew him well but wish I could have known him better. But I have my distinct quilt of memories and experiences, good and bad, to hold on to and that will have to be enough.

Here’s a version of the Beatles‘ song In My Life from Diana Krall for this Father’s Day edition of Sunday morning music.



GC Myers- A Time For Reckoning sm

A Time For Reckoning“– Now at the Principle Gallery



White in the moon the long road lies

White in the moon the long road lies,
The moon stands blank above;
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.

Still hangs the hedge without a gust,  
Still, still the shadows stay:
My feet upon the moonlit dust
Pursue the ceaseless way.

The world is round, so travellers tell,
And straight though reach the track, 
Trudge on, trudge on, ’twill all be well,
The way will guide one back.

But ere the circle homeward hies
Far, far must it remove:
White in the moon the long road lies 
That leads me from my love.

–A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, 1896



Without Diversion

GC Myers- Between Here and There

Between Here and There“- Now at the Principle Gallery



A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one’s time—the stuff of life.

― Carl Sandburg



I think I need to take Mr. Sandburg’s advice today and avoid some of those diversions that take up my time, that stuff of life. I urge you to do the same and to that end will stop writing so as not to create a diversion from your own stuff of life.

See you on the other side.

Facing Mystery

GC Myers--Facing Mystery 2021



Faith and love are apt to be spasmodic in the best minds: Men live on the brink of mysteries and harmonies into which they never enter, and with their hand on the door-latch they die outside.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letter to Thomas Carlyle, March 1838



I think that the words above from Emerson to Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle perfectly fit the vibe I get from the painting above, Facing Mystery, another new painting now hanging at the Principle Gallery.

So often we avoid following the paths of both those mysteries and aspirations that haunt us. We often face, or worse yet, create barriers– here it is a forest of red that seems dark and deep– that we use as an excuse for staying in our safe and consistent space.

Close to home or as Emerson put it, with their hand on the door-latch.

It’s understandable. I don’t fault anyone for wanting to stay in their own safe and secure comfort zone. I might be a prime example of that right now, sequestered in my own dark forest, panicked sometimes at the thought of venturing outside it. Luckily for me, mysteries and aspirations as well as the harmonies to which Emerson refers are close at hand here.

For the most part. But even as I rationalize my own safe existence, I know there are more mysteries and harmonies, with answers and depths to be added to my being, out there to be found if I can only shake free of my own door-latch.

That might be the existential question here: Are we willing to face and follow the real mystery of our lives?

I don’t have an answer for myself yet.

I am hopeful and feel willing but find myself still holding onto that door-latch of that simple little house.



Facing Mystery is part of Between Here and There, my current solo exhibition at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The show, my 22nd annual at the Principle Gallery, opened June 4th and hangs there until the end of this month.

ΩΩΩΩΩΩ



GC Myers- Facing Mystery Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog page



GC Myers- exiles-blue-guitar 1995This morning, I came across a piece from poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) which was fortunate as I was inclined to not write anything this morning. I didn’t write anything the day before yesterday when the internet was down here as a result of a squirrel chewing on the  cable on the pole outside the studio. They do that type of thing all the time.

That cable issue kept me from maintaining my streak of posting something every day and it didn’t feel bad. And that pleased me because I sometimes need to get things done and the early morning is when I am best suited, physically and mentally, to tackle them. Not worrying about posting something is a big relief.

That’s a lot of explanation for saying not too much. Anyway, the point here is that I found a poem that reminded me of an early painting, Blue Guitar from my Exiles series from back around 1995-1996. Actually, it fits it perfectly and I thought I would share a reading of it from Tom O’Bedlam who I have featured here a few times recently.

If you’re so inclined, take a short minute or two to give a listen and see if you see the connection.



Comforter Blues

PG GCMyers-- Comforter sm

“Comforter”- At the Principle Gallery

There’s a lot to do this morning between errands and the fast approaching deadline for my show next month at the West End Gallery. Just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.

But it all seems insignificant and downright trivial when thinking about a good friend of mine who is in pretty bad shape right now. He is in the position many folks have found themselves in the past year or so. Though he doesn’t have the coronavirus, he has contracted pneumonia and is currently in a local ICU, where he is intubated and heavily sedated.

It’s a scary situation for him and his family and friends. Like I said, its a situation that has been way too familiar for too many people this past year, one that leaves one feeling unable to help or even comfort properly.

I am going to leave it at that. I hope you’ll think of my friend today. Maybe your thoughts will somehow help him. Maybe they will also provide an example to each of us of how tenuous our health and welfare can be, that we should not take tomorrow for granted. It may not come in the form we think it will.

Here’s a song I am playing for my friend. It’s Bell Bottom Blues from Eric Clapton during his time with Derek and the Dominos. Hope you’re up and around soon, Brian. Next breakfast is on me.



Freedom

GCMyers-- La Bella Vita sm

“La Bella Vita”– Now at the Principle Gallery-16″ x 40″ on canvas



You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon



Came across this new song from Jon Batiste yesterday and immediately knew that I would be using it this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s called Freedom and it celebrates the joy that comes in movement and dance.

Myself, I’m way too self-conscious to be a dancer but I certainly recognize the joy found in it in others, those who dance without any self-consciousness or restraint. But while I may envy them, I also take a little of their joy and freedom for myself.

There’s an infectious quality to that kind of freedom of expression. The good kind of infectious.

Give a listen. It might make you feel like getting up and moving a little. And that’s always a good thing.



Happy

GC Myers- Song of Joy  2021

Song of Joy“- Now at the Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA



There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.

― John Calvin (1509-1564)



Lots of work to get at this morning so I’m just going to leave the words above from Calvin, who basically states that to not see the joy in color and creation is a moral failing, along with Song of Joy here with the hope that you’ll find something in your day that will make you rejoice a bit. Here’s Happy from the Rolling Stones‘ classic album Exile on Main Street.

Maybe that will get your day started on the way to joy, much to Calvin’s delight.



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