Archive for May 21st, 2010

Peers- GC Myers 2003

I’m in the last days of painting before I start final preparations such as framing and such for my upcoming show.  I’m currently putting the final touches on a piece that is a multiple similar in form to the one shown here, Peers from back in 2003.   The piece I’m working on consists of 3 rows of 3 red trees on a 30″ by 30″ canvas.  I’ve used multiple images a number of times over the years, although I often go years between.  There is something almost musical, almost choral, in the repetition of form.

I only mention this today because when I came into the studio I put on an album (CD actually but I still call them albums) of work from Arvo Part.  One of the first pieces to play was Cantus in Memoriam of Benjamin Britten.  It was a mesmerizing tonal piece and as it played, I looked at the title and realized I didn’t know what was meant by the cantus in the title.

Looking it up brought me to the term cantus firmus which is described as a sort of polyphonic composition, meaning it is comprised of multiple interwoven and, often, the same melodies.  A Gregorian chant is an example of one type of polyphony.  The voices, or melodies, are repeated,  one over the other, some at different tones and varying lengths.  I don’t know much about music but as I read I began to equate this meshing of voices and melodies in a cantus firmus with what I was trying to achieve with the multiple images in the painting I was working on.  Each image is basically the same but because of the way they are positioned and come together as a whole, they become more than the product of their parts.

At least, that’s my take on it. 

Anyway, I found a name for the piece I am finishing.  Cantus Firmus.

Here’s the composition from Arvo Part:


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