Archive for November 26th, 2021

A Perfect Love

GC Myers- A Perfect Love sm

A Perfect Love — Soon at the Principle Gallery

How very lovable her face was to him. Yet there was nothing ethereal about it; all was real vitality, real warmth, real incarnation. And it was in her mouth that this culminated. Eyes almost as deep and speaking he had seen before, and cheeks perhaps as fair; brows as arched, a chin and throat almost as shapely; her mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening. He had never before seen a woman’s lips and teeth which forced upon his mind with such persistent iteration the old Elizabethan simile of roses filled with snow. Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no — they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.

― Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

I love this paragraph from Hardy and, in particular, that last sentence:

And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.

It might well be the mission statement I might give for my own work, if asked.

Viewing it as a sign of our humanity and vulnerability, I almost strive for imperfection, though I never do so consciously. I just know that if I try to do my very best, to try to reach my own pinnacle of accomplishment, that somehow my own imperfections will find their way into that work and show through.

And in doing so, I find that when I notice these imperfections that they seldom seem to detract from the work. No, like the words from Hardy, they enhance the work for me.

They add the sweetness of humanity.

That brings us to the painting at the top, a new piece headed to the Principle Gallery for its annual Small Works show which opens next Friday, December 4. The painting is from my Baucis & Philemon series, based on the Greek myth that had an poor, older couple who had pleased Zeus with their open-heartedness and generosity, granted an eternity together by him as trees bound as one.

I call this piece A Perfect Love.

The title refers to the wish of Baucis & Philemon, of course. But it is actually a bit tongue in cheek because of the imperfections that clearly show in this piece.

A Perfect Love- detail

A Perfect Love detail

There are bits of broken bristle from a worn brush embedded in the dried liquid of the inks I use. A tiny hair here and there, probably from an eyebrow as I hover over the piece. The rough edges of the paint layers. A constellation of pinholes in the underlying gesso.

All these things I seldom see while I am at work. My attention is on the whole of it and capturing some from of energy that will bring it to life. It’s only after it is done– unless it’s such a large flaw that it detracts from the whole– that I notice these things.

And, as in this piece, they bring me joy. They are striking evidence of my humanness, my flawed existence on this planet. I would like to think that sometime in the future someone might look on these imperfections and think about how they arrived there, imagining an artist standing over this surface with brush in hand at the moment that the energy of the painting emerged.

They’ll be able to see the hand ( and maybe the hair and sometimes a bit of spit or blood) of the artist in the work. And I like that, disgusting as it may sound to some.

It’s human. Imperfect.

And that is, in its own way, perfect.

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