Archive for February 3rd, 2023

Silent Dusk

GC Myers-  Silent Dusk

Silent Dusk– At the West End Gallery

From pure sensation to the intuition of beauty, from pleasure and pain to love and the mystical ecstasy and death — all the things that are fundamental, all the things that, to the human spirit, are most profoundly significant, can only be experienced, not expressed. The rest is always and everywhere silence.

After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

–Aldous Huxley, “The Rest Is Silence” –Music at Night and Other Essays, 1931

The excerpt above is the first paragraph from an essay, The Rest Is Silence, from Aldous Huxley that speaks of the significance of silence in music. He says that our greatest emotions, sensations, and feelings are truly inexpressible with words, that silence has a much greater capacity for expression than our feeble verbal abilities and that music is the closest form with the capacity for describing the inexpressible.

Can’t say that I disagree.

Silence has been one of the things I have been looking for in my work since the very beginning back in the early 90’s when I first took up the brush. I had tried writing for years but it always came down to me scribbling about silence and I quickly saw that my words were insufficient to describe or get to that silence. Without reading Huxley, I knew that music would be the best route to finding that silence but never felt that I had the ability, knowledge, or confidence to create the kind of music that encompassed the silence I was seeking.

I knew that visual art was my only way to get to that silence. It had few rules–which was important because I have always been averse to following rules and wanted to set my own rules, if there were to be any at all. Plus, it was in itself a silent medium, one that relied on the eyes rather than the ears required for music.

But it could take its cues from music, employing parts of it like rhythm and melody. I often refer to rhythm when describing my work and I see melody and musical phrasing in the linework of many of my pieces.

And it could make use of silence in much the same way that it is used in music.

Silence is space.

This space contained in silence allows the true emotion that surrounds it to fill the void. Pure and uncontaminated by word or sound.

Trying to reveal and employ that silence is a never-ending task. Just when I think I understand the silence and that its essence can be captured in a visual form, I realize how much more there is to know of silence.

But I keep trying and sometimes it feels near to my efforts.

It may be wordless and soundless and even formless, but it will make its presence known when it arrives.

That’s the hope in this new small piece, Silent Dusk, that is at the West End Gallery for the annual Little Gems show. It opens next Friday, February 10. Jesse and Linda are in the process of hanging the show so if you want a sneak peek, the show will be available for previews before then.

Here’s a favorite piece from composer Philip Glass who celebrated birthday 86 this past week. His work often makes use of space and silence, allowing for expression of those things that seem beyond articulation. This piece, Metamorphosis II, was used in the score for the film The Hours. This performance of the Glass piece is from Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer. Seeing her hands move over the strings gives this piece a visual aspect where the silences in it can almost be seen.

Good stuff…

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