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It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted […] There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

Mark Rothko



From 2015:

I have often said, often without much grace, that the subject for a painting is secondary, not really that important so long as the painting says something, expresses feeling and evokes emotion within the viewer. I think the work of Mark Rothko is a good example of this sentiment. They are simple of blocks of opposing colors set one over the other or, as in the case of the piece above, one alongside another.

Seemingly without subject.

Seemingly about nothing.

But as Rothko states, there is no such thing as a good painting about nothing. And this is a good painting. It allows the viewer’s own emotions into its space, lets their own story become the story and subject of this work. That space is the subject and purpose of this work.

So, every picture does tell a story. Some dictate the story, forcing the viewer to follow a set storyline through the picture as though they were the plot of a murder-mystery novel. Others do so like a song or poetry, evoking feeling with a suggestion or a gentle nudge. The viewer here is complicit in the fulfillment of the art.

For myself, I prefer the latter but have enjoyed works with more obvious subjects.  Perhaps not as deeply felt but enjoyable, nonetheless. I still question where my work falls on this scale. I am sure it has been both and I know I am much more satisfied when it appears more poetic. But being able to dictate the nature of the work is often beyond me. It sometimes appears in the poetic form seemingly on its own, without my direction.

And that is most satisfying.  And elusive.

Here’s a song that echos Rothko’s sentiments. Sort of. It’s the classic Every Picture Tells a Story from Rod Stewart. I am not a big Rod Stewart fan but when he hits the mark, it’s pretty special. He hits the mark pretty hard here.



Coming to an End



If I were writing a novel I would end it here: a novel, I used to think, has to end somewhere, but I’m beginning to believe my realism has been at fault all these years, for nothing in life now ever seems to end. Chemists tell you matter is never completely destroyed, and mathematicians tell you that if you halve each pace in crossing a room, you will never reach the opposite wall, so what an optimist I would be if I thought that this story ended here.

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair



Just a reminder this morning that my annual solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA is in its final days. This year’s show, Depths and Light, ends this coming Sunday,  July 3. So, if you want to see the show, time is limited.

But like so many have pointed out before, including Graham Greene above, the end of anything is merely a point in time, that some part of all matter continues on. That’s a fine point and most likely a disputable one, I know. But it applies for art.

Art almost always lives on in some way. For this show, that life is in the works that find their way to new homes, hopefully adding to or reinforcing the lives of their new caretakers

The thought that the individual works move forward after they come off the gallery wall makes the end of shows much more palatable.

Hope you can make it in.

 

En Rose



GC Myers-  Flower Shadow June 1995 sm

Flower Shadow“, 1995 – at West End Gallery



I don’t have a lot of time this morning. With the broken foot so time becomes even more of a premium these days as I prepare for my upcoming July show at the West End Gallery. Everything takes a little longer and every movement requires thought and planning. And that’s not my strong point.

My friend, Brian, went through a major physical ordeal this past year that I outlined here and is adapting to new limitations after finally coming home from the hospital after 10 months. He calls his daily routine living in slow motion.

Though hardly in the same ballpark, I understand that a little more now.

But even with limited time, I felt like sharing something with a bit of beauty, something with a bit of optimism. To that end, I am sharing a favorite song, La Vie en Rose, the old French classic. The Edith Piaf rendition is the gold standard but this version from the supremely talented Rhiannon Giddens is gorgeous, as well. The song’s title basically translates as seeing life through rose-colored glasses.

We could all use that once in a while.



9921042 Dispersing Darkness sm

Dispersing Darkness” – At the Principle Gallery



What makes night within us may leave stars.

― Victor Hugo, Ninety-Three



I like the words above from the last novel, Ninety-Three, from Victor Hugo. They sum up, in a poetic way, my own feelings on what can sometimes happen in the aftermath of those bad things–the darkness and nights– we are doomed to encounter in life.

If we can endure those nights of darkness, we may discover positives among what is left behind.

Stars in the night.

Everything that happens is dependent on our ability to find those stars when the night feels endless and overwhelming.

We must just remember that they are there if only we would look up in the sky for them.

GC Myers- Bruised Orange  2022

Bruised Orange– At the Principle Gallery 



I Worried

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

— Mary Oliver



I failed to mention yesterday that, after hearing the news of the Roe v. Wade decision as I turned my car into our driveway, I proceeded to break a bone in my mid-foot within minutes of that moment. Ended up spending several hours in the ER that afternoon, which presented me with a cast and a pair of crutches as my work companions for next several weeks.

Friday sucked in so many ways.

I am hobbling around now, trying to figure out ways to do tasks that once seemed easy and effortless. Even getting a tube of paint takes thought and effort.

I am not complaining. This minor inconvenience is just that. In a time when so many have died or been stricken with long term symptoms from covid and when the political machinations of the Supreme Court have put so many more lives at grave risk, it could be a lot worse.

My little problem will undoubtedly get better eventually. There is no guarantee that those other problems will improve. It’s going to take an effort to make things change.

And the prospect for that has the worrying part of me, that well from which all my anxiety springs, on high alert in recent days.

I am using two pieces here today to try to quell that worry. One is the poem from poet Mary Oliver at the top that tells me to set aside my worries for the moment and sing.

It’s something good to hear on this Sunday.

The other is this week’s Sunday Morning Music selection which is the Otis Redding version of the eternal Sam Cooke song, A Change is Gonna Come. It’s a song instills in me the hope that we the people are up to the task of creating change.

It’s something good to hear on this Sunday.






Take a clue from the title of Otis’ album. Vote blue until you bleed red.

GC Myers- Navigating Chaos  2022

Navigating Chaos– Now at the Principle Gallery



Once By The Pacific 

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God’s last Put out the Light was spoken.

–Robert Frost


Yesterday morning, I came home from a regular checkup with my doctor and as I was about to turn in the driveway the news came across the radio that Roe v. Wade was overturned. It was not unexpected, of course. We knew for months that this was coming. But even so, it still was shocking to hear the news.

Stunning, actually.

Before that moment, I had been envisioning imagery from possible scenarios going ahead but they still seemed just figments of the imagination. Daydreams, both good and bad. But the news was like a starter’s pistol going off. It was now real and the race was on.

I came across these lines from Robert Frost :

It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God’s last Put out the Light was spoken.

The lines struck me deeply, especially in the aftermath of the events of the last several days that coupled the reversal of Roe v. Wade and several other politically driven court decisions that conflict with the sentiments of the majority of Americans with the revelations of treasonous treachery of the former president* and his cronies that have emerged during the Jan. 6 hearings.

Frost’s words gave me a feeling of dark foreboding, that these ideologues do not realize the force and intensity of the rage they may have unleashed upon themselves. They have used hypothetical threats and created fears to energize their base of support but in doing so they have now created an opposition force that is built on legitimate fear and desperation.

Add a sense of righteous rage to the fear and desperation of the majority and you have a pretty potent cocktail. And that’s something much more powerful than anything these smug ideologues have ever tasted.

And that potency is only going to grow in coming days as the true ramifications of this reversal become evident. For example, in many of the states that now outlaw abortion rights, in vitro fertilization (IVF) will become illegal because these states decree that life begins at fertilization and the excess and unused fertilized eggs are discarded.

Or take the case of a pregnant woman with the unfortunate luck to have cancer at the same moment. In many of the states whose anti-abortion laws went immediately into effect, it becomes potentially criminal for a cancer doctor to administer chemotherapy to a pregnant woman.

There are plenty of other scenarios out there pertaining to the effects of this reversal. But it doesn’t necessarily stop there. In his assent, Clarence Thomas stated with little equivocation that other rights of privacy presently in place– birth control, same-sex marriage, choice of sexual preferences– are on the chopping block.

Make no mistake- this is not the end of what these people want.

There are no moderate theocracies. No moderate authoritarian states.

They will not stop here.

Unless we stop them. Now.

That’s not hyperbole, people.

You might ask why I care. I am, after all, an aging white man in Whitemanistan with all the privileges and benefits attached to that. I just think that everyone should have every right and every opportunity to live their lives as they choose so long as they respect the lives and choices of others. I don’t want people bothering me or meddling in my life and I sure as hell don’t want to meddle in the lives of others.

The happiness of others makes my own happiness deeper. And the anguish of others makes my own deeper, as well. Much as John Donne wrote, my life and work is involved with mankind:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

The bells are tolling, folks. The starter’s pistol has went off. It’s real now and the differences between two sides in this momentous competition are as stark as one can imagine. One is a side standing for personal freedom and choice while the other has a burning desire for even more control over the individual in the form of theocratic authoritarianism.

It’s 2022.

It is now or never.

And someone had better be prepared for rage…


									

Beyond Mediocrity

GC Myers- The Steadying Light

The Steadying Light– Included in the Principle Gallery Show



Excellence is its own master, owes no allegiance, bows its head to no regimen. It exists pure and whole like the silver face of the moon. Untouchable, unreachable, exquisite. But frustrating because it reminds us of how much mediocrity we put up with, just to get through the week.

― Harlan Ellison



I don’t have much time to write this morning. Maybe I shouldn’t share anything at all. But have been thinking about how our lives are affected by our willingness to settle for mediocrity, about how we opt for choices that are easy, that require little exertion of effort or thought.

Like I said, I don’t have time to put this into any sort of context right now. I just wanted to put this out into the world this morning with the hope that I won’t accept my own mediocrity and that we, as a people, will put in the effort and thought required to achieve excellence.

That might be asking too much…

In Situ The Steadying Light 2022 Principle Gallery

Botanica Unus

GC Myers- Botanica Unus

Botanica Unus— At the Principle Gallery



We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.

― Gwendolyn Brooks



I enjoy painting these pieces from the Botanica series. The process for these paintings allow an immediate transmittal of their message while I am them. They seem to be about making marks that somehow delineate, in a very simple way, the tension between order and chaos. About how we seek strength and reinforcement in others to stave off the effects of chaos. About creating something of beauty in the face of chaos.

There’s something in these pieces that speaks to the polarity of life that has always found way into my thoughts. The polarity that is within us all.

Order and chaos. Calmness and uproar. Darkness and light. Good and evil.

These pieces represent the finding of balance, often by bonding with others to give them strength– and gain theirs– within that swirling chaos that we all face.

I like their simplicity and directness as well as the beauty and light I see in them.

Things we need in chaotic times.

That might be the only upside to living in dire times– creating beauty in our lives becomes a paramount act of survival.

As a passage from the novel The Painted Veil from W. Somerset Maugham points out:

I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.



In Situ Botanica Unus single

Who Will Buy

Miriam Jones Album Cover with LP



Who will buy this wonderful morning?
Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon,
And put it in a box for me?

–Lionel Bart, Who Will Buy from Oliver



In the hubbub of the past week, I forgot to mention that the new album, Reach For the Morning, from singer/songwriter Miriam Jones was released last Friday. It is a wonderful group of work from Miriam that has been garnering glowing reviews. I received my copy of the vinyl version last week (with the CD tucked inside) and the album looks and sounds great. I am really pleased with how the artwork for the cover turned out and would like to say that the album cover has something to do with the reception thus far for the album, but it is all due to Miriam’s talent and effort.

Miriam starts a tour of the UK in July to promote the album.

You can buy the vinyl limited edition version of the album via the link below. It is also available on most streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora, iHeart and You Tube Music.

I am sharing the most recent release from the album today. It’s Who Will Buy which is from the musical Oliver. I really like Miriam’s interpretation of the song which was a big production number in the play and film. She transforms the song into something new and personal, making it her own, something she has a knack for in her covers. She does a stunning version of Bob Dylan’s Lord Protect My Child on this album, as well.

So, give a click to the play button below and enjoy Miriam Jones and Who Will Buy. Not a bad way to start your Wednesday.





Silent Watch

GC Myers- Silent Watch sm

Silent Watch— At the Principle Gallery



Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth



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