Archive for April 22nd, 2022

GC Myers- Archaeology- The Golden Age Beyond sm

Archaeology: The Golden Age Beyond

I am convinced that the stratigraphic method will in the future enable archaeology to throw far more light on the history of American culture than it has done in the past.

–Edward Sapir (1884-1939), American Anthropologist

Whenever I drive past a landfill, one of those new looming hills that rise weirdly from the surrounding landscape, I wonder if they will be considered treasure troves in some distant future. Will the inhabitants of the Earth in ten or a hundred thousand years from now dig into them and stare in wonder at some of what they uncover in those vast heaps?

Of course, that’s supposing that there will still be an Earth or inhabitants with the same sort of curiosity that drives archaeologists and anthropologists in our time. Perhaps someone will be here but not give a damn about the prior residents. Or maybe those landfills will be under new towering mountains or at the bottom of a deep, dark ocean.

Who knows? Or should I say, for that matter, who cares? 

This brings me to a what I want to be a quick post this morning. The break from the blog in the past several days has worked out well for me, workwise. Getting a lot of what I consider very good work done. I thought I would share some images from my Archaeology series which was perhaps the most popular of the various limited series of paintings that have emerged over the years. I am also rerunning a segment from an early blog post that outlines how the work came about back in 2008.

Archaeology: Under the Same SunFrom 2008:

This is a piece titled Archaeology: Under the Same Sun which is part of my Archaeology series of paintings that was new for this year. It came about early in January when I was struggling to find the direction in which my work was headed.  By that I mean, I am always trying to find ways to expand the scope of my work, to create something new in the work that will excite me in the studio and, by extension, viewers in the galleries.

I really felt lost this year as I began preparations for my June show. My work felt uninspired and every day was a battle to create anything that seemed alive. I needed something that would light a fire under me, something that would excite me in the work.

 I reverted to a exercise that my 5th grade art teacher, John Baglini, in Chemung, NY taught me back in what must be 1969. Mr. Baglini was pretty cool, especially to a 5th grader. He drove a late 50’s Porsche, wore big bellbottoms, drew comic books and always had really neat projects for the class. For example, since it was the year of the moon landing, we made a huge papier-mache lunar landscape.  

Another project had him passing out large sheets of paper and pens and ink. He would have us start at the bottom (or wherever you wanted to start) and totally fill the paper. He told us to draw a junkyard, to fill the sheet with items that we knew, to stack them from bottom to top and top to bottom.

It was a great exercise that made me think of how one item related to the next and how small detail contributed to the whole image. It has been something I have used for nearly forty years, often filling the margins of the newspapers with doodles and little objects.

GC Myers Archaeology-sketch

Early Archaeology Sketch

So, when I felt blocked this time, I pulled out some large sheets of paper and a Sharpie and started doodling at the bottom. I did this for several days and eventually the pieces went from masses of objects to a smaller group of objects that grew seamlessly upward into a landscape.

It all merged together so well that I began to wonder why I hadn’t painted in this fashion before. It made such sense. It allowed me to paint my trademark landscapes but to add a new dimension. From a distance one can tell it’s my work but upon closer inspection one finds a new level of detail that reveals something new with each subsequent look. It also allowed me to paint detail in a free flowing, stream-of-consciousness manner, one object leading to the next.

There was also the opportunity to create a new vocabulary with the repetition of objects within the context of my paintings. There are a number of objects that make appearances in all or most of the paintings of this series.  Peace symbols, shoes, bottles, the letter “G”, etc.

And periodically, a nod to my own work as it, like most of what we have around us, finds its way to the future in some sort of landfill that some archaeologist might uncover in a distant future.

GC Myers- Archaeology- A New Wind Rises sm

Archaeology: A New Wind Rises

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GC Myers- Archaeology- Formed in the Past small

Archaeology: Formed in the Past

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