Archive for July, 2012

 Fabled art collector Herb Vogel died last week at the age of 89.  Since I’m on the road today, I thought I would rerun a post I wrote a couple of years back about Herb and Dorothy.  Their passion for art was remarkable and showed that collectible art was not only for the very wealthy.  


This is Herb and Dorothy Vogel.  Herb’s retired from his job at the post office and Dorothy from a job as a librarian.  They live in a small apartment in NYC.  The only connection I have with them is that Dorothy is from my hometown of Elmira.  That and the fascination I have for the passion that they possess for collecting art.

You see, the Vogels have compiled one of the greatest collections of modern art in the world over the past forty eight years or so.

I’ve written before that art does not have to be the sole province of the wealthy, that art is accessible to most every income level if the person really feels the desire to collect.  The Vogels are positive proof of that.

They married in the early 60’s and immediately began their obsession, living on Dorothy’s income as a librarian and using Herb’s paycheck to buy art. They sought out new and what they felt were important artists, meeting them and learning about them as they acquired early, important works from the artists before they were discovered by the greater art world.  Many artists became friends and gave them numerous pieces until their small apartment was bulging.  Artworks under the bed, artworks on the ceiling, artworks in every nook and cranny– art consumed their home.

By this time, their collection was recognized throughout the art world as one of the largest and most comprehensive collections held by a private collector.  In the 90’s, the National Gallery of Art took stewardship of their collection, allowing the Vogel’s collection to live on long after they are gone.  It also allowed the Vogel’s the room, as the collection was taken by the National Gallery, to continue collecting with the same passion for the modern art they so loved.  It’s said that their collection is probably worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars today but that was never the reason behind their manic collecting.  It was about their love of, and connection to, the art.  It proves that wealth or income is not the primary factor in collecting.

Only a passion and desire.

The story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel is a great story and was the subject of an award-winning documentary this past year called, of course, Herb and Dorothy.  There is also a ton of written articles and broadcast stories out there about the Vogels, so please look them up.  You may not like a lot of the work they collect but their passion is worth watching.

Here’s a trailer for the documentary:

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I am running around this morning, trying to get things ready for a visit to a couple of galleries over the next couple of days.  I won’t be posting anything while I’m on this little roadtrip so I thought I’d just share a little music that somewhat has the tempo of my mind when I’m rolling down the road.  This is a video of The Who from 1970 at the Isle of Wight doing Young Man Blues.  This is a great recording so you get to see Roger Daltrey in his full-fringed, mic twirling splendor, Keith Moon at this bangin’ best and Pete Townsend tearing it up in his dystopian  industrial coveralls while John Entwhistle stoically provides the bottom end that churns it all along.  Just vintage great stuff.

The accompanying image shown here is a painting of mine  from many years ago called Faust’s Guitar.  I did a few versions of this composition and it still catches my eye.  He should be wearing Pete’s coverall…

Enjoy and I’ll be back in a few days.

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Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery


This is a new painting, Nightheart, that is headed west to my friends at the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo.  It’s about 11″ by 34″ in size and has a most cam and contemplative aura around it.  This morning, when I came across the words above from  Antoine de Saint-Exupery , the French author of The Little Prince and a real man of action as well, I immediately thought of this painting.

When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.   That line may say more about what I want for and see in  my work  than anything  I have ever said myself.  In fact, reading his words right now leaves me speechless.  And calm, like that tree.

I will simply let that line above stand on its own alongside this painting.

Please take a moment  to click on the link above and read a bit on the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery.   A full but short life…

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I know that I just had a post on vintage photos the other day  and I don’t usually like to have similar posts too close to one another but I found these photos too interesting to not mention here.   They are called Hidden Mother photos and come from the Victorian era of studio photography.  They are photos of small children taken with their mother holding them while she is under a drape of some sort.  The photo is then matted with a window that crops out the mother so that the drape appears as a backdrop for the child.  In present times,  these  photos, now without their mats to expose the whole photo, have become very collectible.  What was intended to be a sweet image of a toddler now has a ghostly figure cradling a child, giving it a strange and slightly creepy feel that appeals to collectors.  Some are a little creepier than others.  Just found these interesting…

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I was recently looking at this painting, Twin Lakes, that is part of  my current show at the West End Gallery when my perception of it quickly changed and came into sharper focus.

It was painted as a simple organic growth of  lines and forms, little thought given to what it might have to say.  It was allowed to form almost completely of its own volition.  But looking at it this morning I was struck by the polarity in it.  The  Red Tree  here was composed of two separate trees, two equal halves, and the image itself seemed to me to suddenly resemble a yin-yang symbol .  The road dividing the pieces roughly in halves acts as the border between the light and dark parts of the symbol.   The title twin lakes are representative of the two smaller inner circles within the symbol that symbolize the interaction of the energies of the two sides.  The darkness in the light and vice-versa.  The feminine in the masculine and so on.

Or, in a different reading, the twin lakes here represent the two sides a set of scales.  Either way, as part of a yin-yang symbol or as scales, they represent balance between our opposing sides.  We are complex creatures, comprised of multiple conflicting  passions that can easily throw us off kilter if we stray too far off balance.  Maintaining a sense of equilibrium is imperative in our quest for a peaceful and satisfying existence.

Funny how a seemingly simple landscape suddenly becomes an existential  metaphor.

Or not.  Depends on how you see it…

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Last week I had a post that featured a photo of a French boy with cigarette and rooster that I found interesting.  It was from Luminous Lint, one of my favorite sites that features great and historic photography.  But I also love looking at some other photo sites that feature vernacular photography.  Everyday stuff.  Posing around the Christmas tree or day at the beach family photos that  often have an unusual quality that I’m sure  that the people who originally took the photos never expected or even noticed.  Probably the latter since most of these sites pick up most of their photos from flea markets.  Not all of the photos have any artistry at all but there is often humor, humanity or have an air of mystery around them that conjures up all sorts of possible stories about them in one’s mind.

One such site is The Boat Lullabies which is ran by the person behind Square America, a downed site that was amazing and one that I documented here several times over the years.   Then there is Accidental Mysteries from the collection of John and Teenuh  Foster which features found photos that really do have a mysterious quality about them.  Time Tales is a  neat Dutch site that features photos from around the world that are categorized into time frames.  And there’s Big Happy Funhouse  which offers found photos and free pie and GargantuaPhotos which has vintage photos for sale, including the photo below of Rivets, the terrier whose photo lists him as being the mascot of the USS Nitro in 1945.


These are all great sites where you could spend way too much time so be careful.  But do give them a minute to at least let your mind take in some of the imagery and let your imagination off of its leash for a bit.  I guarantee you will find at least one thing that will make you smile or at least feel as though you might somehow know these people or have worn that same goofy Halloween costume.

Have a great day…

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Well, another opening has passed.  The West End Gallery show went well the other night, thanks to everyone who came out.  I couldn’t be more appreciative for people taking time to visit and look at my work.  It makes  all the time and effort feel worthwhile.

The show hangs together really well with a great deal of color and warmth cast from the walls.  One piece that drew a lot of comments is the painting shown here, a 16″ by 20″ canvas called Air of Mystery.  It has a real presence on the wall with its strong color and purple fingers of cloud reaching across the moon/sun that sheds light on the patchwork fields on the distant hills.  A blood red field that makes up the foreground adds to the mysterious feel of the piece.

I don’t really know what it means yet and, for the time being, I’m content with that.  I’m going to take a few minutes to relax this morning, drink my coffee, read the newspaper then do a little painting.  A good Sunday morning and I feel like I’m reflecting light which happens to be the title of a Sam Phillips song from several years back that always makes me stop and listen when it comes up on my playlist. Maybe it’s that line: Now that I’ve worn out the world/ I’m on my knees in fascination.  It has it’s own melodic air of mystery. It’s from an album, A Boot and a Shoe, produced by her then husband T-Bone Burnett,  that I like very much.  Here it is:

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GC Myers- Collected Memories

Tonight marks the opening of my annual show at the West End Gallery, this year titled In Rhythm.  There is an opening  reception tonight running from 5-7:30 which is a pretty casual affair, open to everyone.  So if you’re in the Corning area, please stop in and see this year’s show which hangs until August 31.

I’ve written here many times about the feelings that arise around the times of show openings.  The anxiety and fears of failure.  But, as I’ve also pointed out, this is my 33rd or 34th solo show and the anxiety has evolved over the years.  It used to be a pure sense of failure, of not creating work that was both compelling and sellable.   But experience has taught me that if the work satisfies and excites me personally, it will in most cases do the same for others.  The anxiety now comes from the weeks before the show when I am still forming the body of the show and am not quite sure how it will come together as a whole.  Not sure if it will indeed satisfy and excite me, the threat of failure still hangs in the air.

But once I have a grip on the show, can see that I’ve done everything in my power to make each piece special and alive in some way, the anxiety eases.  At that point, I know that I’ve done all that I can as far as those aspects that  I can control.   I am content and the work is now ready to go out into the world on its own.

And that’s where I am with this show.  I am very happy with this group of work and feel that there’s a real sense of  strength and completeness in it, each piece seeming to relate in some way to the others while still standing out individually.  One of my goals for my work.

So, anxiety is  alleviated,  the show is hung and my only job now is to answer any questions that are asked at tonight’s reception.   If you happen to be in Corning tonight, stop in, sip a little wine while you’re looking things over and say hello.


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We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

–William Shakespeare


Interesting line from the Bard.  Awareness of what we are is a good thing but we should not be satisfied.  We can always be better, be more than we are now.

 More tolerant and understanding of the plight of others.  More patient. More generous.  More kind.  More peaceful.  More willing to listen, to learn.  More loving.

Just better.

That’s what I see in this piece, Knowingness, an 18″ by 26″ painting that is part of my show opening tomorrow at the West End Gallery.  It’s about knowing what you are and, while being at peace with this knowledge, realizes there is always the possibility of being more.

 It may be the beginning of real wisdom.

I can’t say for sure.  I don’t think I’m at that point yet but, with this painting serving as a reminder,  remain hopeful.

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One man’s dusk is another man’s dawn.

There’s a bit of philosophical pondering in this piece, a 12″ by 34″ painting on paper that is included in my show at the West End Gallery that opens this Friday.  Maybe it’s in the deep yellows that run through it or in the way the sun sits on the horizon or in the way the Red Tree seems to be considering that sun.  Or maybe it’s all of these things.  Whatever the case, it makes me think.

The title suggests the great circle of life, one ending becoming the start of another.  In this piece. the sun going down in one place is that same sun rising in another.  Darkness gives way to light and light to dark.  It is symbolic of a  never ending  cycle in which we all play a part.

There’s something reassuring in that rise and fall of the sun, a constant by which oversees our lives.    It’s no wonder that the sun is worshipped as a god in a number of cultures.  It provides in the way of a god, giving us warmth, light and a life source for the foods we eat.  It never leaves  for long, always reappearing.

So, light comes, light goes.  Sunrise, sunset.  We live in the rhythm of this sun, days and lives constantly turning over.  When you think about it, it’s not such a bad thing.  I can live with it.

Actually, I have no choice…




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