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Archive for April 12th, 2014

GC Myers- Into the Pure Land smI’ve had this newer painting in the studio for a few weeks now and it has become one of those pieces where my eyes often come to rest.  That’s something I wasn’t so sure would be the case when I was painting it.  In the earliest stages when I compose the piece by blocking in the forms with a red oxide paint, it felt stiff and lifeless.  This is not necessarily strange at this point in my process but this piece felt even more so.  But with each change in the surface, each layer of paint added, it gained life and depth.

By the its finish, it was instantly drawing me inward.  It had such a meditative effect that I began to think of it in terms of mantras and focal points.  But ultimately, I began to see it as an endpoint, a desired place of attainment.  As a result, I settled on Into the Pure Land as a title for this 10″ by 20″ piece.

In some forms of Buddhism, there are seven levels of heaven, whose name takes on a different meaning than the one denoting paradise that we often associate with the word heaven.  Their heavens are those realms of cyclical existence where a being is reincarnated time after time, hopefully gaining wisdom with each incarnation.  If the being is able to gain total enlightenment, nirvana,  he moves beyond the heavens and into the Pure Lands, which are the eternal abodes of the Buddhas.  This would be closer to the traditional heaven that most likely comes to mind.

This piece has that feel for me, an idyllic place attained by working to pass  through many levels, represented here by the path passing through the layers in the landscape’s foreground.  The radiating bands in the sky represent the eternal pull forward through these layers, almost as a visual mantra that focuses the attention on reaching the endpoint of enlightenment, which I see here as the sun over the horizon.

Mind you, this is only my simplistic take on the concepts of a religion.  The five cent version.  But these terms strike a chord in me when I look into this painting.  Maybe that is my response alone, my personal reaction to my own expression.  For others, it might be a painting that makes them feel a little joy or just an attractive piece with a graphic feel.  Or it just might not be their cup of tea, period.  All are fine with me.  I’m just thinking about entering into that pure land…

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