Archive for November 29th, 2021

Across the Continuum

GC Myers- Across the Continuum 2021

Across the Continuum– Soon at the Principle Gallery

There are no telegraphs on Tralfamadore. But you’re right: each clump of symbols is a brief, urgent message– describing a situation, a scene. We Tralfamadorians read them all at once, not one after the other. There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.

― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

I love this description of how the inhabitants of Tralfamadore, those strange looking characters that appear in several of Vonnegut’s books, read. The idea that in a single glance they can see the entirety of whatever they are looking at, all its depth and breadth, every moment, is a fascinating one to ponder.

Even more so as an artist. We (I’ve decided that for the purpose of this blogpost will identify myself as an artist) often describe our works in terms of capturing a moment, a specific instance, in life. I think it’s just an easy answer, one that we can pull out quickly when asked.

And sometimes, it is certainly the case.

But many times we want to capture an image that a Tralfamadorian would feel right at home with, something that has no beginning, no middle, no end. One, that with a glance, the viewer knows everything they will ever know about that image.

An image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep, as Vonnegut wrote.

I sometimes  refer to this as us trying to capture the continuum of time and space, of which we all are part.  It is that plane of existence that we inhabit in some form or another, perhaps sometimes only on the molecular level, for eternity.

Wouldn’t be nice if an artist could capture that in an image, one where the viewer felt this entirety of the continuum, all its depths and beauty, and how they belonged as part of it?

It’s an impossible goal, of course. Especially so when it becomes the stated goal. Then it becomes too thought out, too enmeshed with a particular thought and moment and idea. I am not saying that it can’t still be beautiful and emotionally powerful and filled with depths.

It just doesn’t meet the high bar set by the Tralfamadorians.

But what does?

The new piece shown at the top, headed down to the Principle Gallery in the next day or so, is called Across the Continuum. The fact that I used the term continuum in its title tells you that it struck a chord with me personally, that it captured my own sense of this ethereal and timeless plane of being.

Again, my own sense.

I am seeing with the knowledge and understanding of my other works through the years, all that has come before it. With a glance it captures the entirety of that connection to the whole, all its depths and surprises and beauty of that totality for me.

So for the purpose of this painting and blogpost, I am, in effect, a Tralfamadorian.

Of course, you most likely are not. You are probably human so you will probably not see this in the same way.

And that’s just fine with me. I’m just glad you came through this post this far.

I appreciate that. No matter what, if anything, you see in this painting, you are okay by me.

At least, as far as humans go.

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