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GC Myers Exiles-Bang Your DrumI am getting ready to head out to Westfield later today for an Art Talk that I will be giving this evening, Thursday beginning at 6 PM, at the Octagon Gallery at the historic Patterson Library. The talk is in support of my Icons & Exiles exhibit that hangs there until next Friday, September 20. It’s a very eclectic exhibit that showcases work from several different series from the past 20+ years that normally hasn’t had much public exposure. Much of this work is more narrative driven than my typical work which is more about emitting emotion. So there are plenty of stories to be told from this show.

I thought I’d share a blog entry that ran here back in 2009 about one of the paintings in the exhibit and how it relates to the act of promoting your work, something I’ve talked about here in recent weeks. Here it is:

This is another piece from my early Exiles series, titled Bang Your Drum. This is a later piece, finished in early 1996.  

Initially, I was a bit more ambivalent about this painting compared to the feeling I had for the other pieces of the Exiles series. It exuded a different vibe. For me, the fact that the drummer is marching signifies a move away from the pain and loss of the other Exiles pieces. There is still solemnity but he is moving ahead to the future, away from the past.

Over the years, this piece has grown on me and I relate very strongly to the symbolism of the act of beating one’s own drum, something that is a very large part of promoting your work as an artist.  

For me and most artists, it is a very difficult aspect of the job, one that is the polar opposite to the traits that led many of us to art. Many are introverted observers of the world, passively taking in the world as it races by as they quietly watch from a distance. To have to suddenly be the the motor to propel your work outward is an awkward step for many, myself included. Even this blog, which is a vehicle for informing the public about my ongoing work and remains very useful to me as a therapeutic tool for organizing  my thoughts, is often a tortuous chore, one that I sometimes agonize and fret over. Even though my work is a public display of my personal feelings, this is different. More obvious and out in the open.

There’s always the fear that I will expose myself to be less than my work. The fear that people will suddenly discover the myriad weaknesses in my character that may not show in my paintings, forever altering their view of it. The fear that I will be  revealed to be, as they say, a mile wide and an inch deep.  

But here I stand with my drumstick in hand, hoping to overcome these fears and trusting that people will look beyond my obvious flaws when they view my work. Maybe they too have the same fears and that is the commonality they see and connect with in the work. Whatever the case, there is something in the work that makes me believe that I must fight past these fears and move it forward, out into the world.

What that is, as I’ve said before, I just don’t know. Can’t think about it now– I’ve got a drum to pound…

Hope you can make it to the talk tonight. I’ll be there, banging my drum. Here’s a little music to get you in the mood. Todd Rundgren from 1983 even though it seems about a million years ago. He knows what I’m talking about.

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Sorrow and solitude
These are the precious things
And the only words
That are worth rememberin’

Townes Van Zandt, Nothin’

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A kind of gray and glum Sunday morning, wet and cool. It has the feel of the season turning, of the green of the leaves to be soon fleeing. The deer outside my window are taking on their new dark winter coats, the beautiful rich reddish coats of summer gone leaving them to look like they have rolled in coal dust, grimy and gray.

But they carry it well.

Myself, I feel as gray and glum and grimy as the scene and I fear I don’t carry it as well as my dear deer.

But that’s okay.

These gray days aren’t pleasant but there is something of value in them. They make you feel something and that is an important thing. It sometimes feels like we live without feeling the moment. And even if the moment isn’t a glorious moment of elation, to feel anything– even sorrow and solitude– at any given time may be the the only gift we have in the precious time we spend in this world.

Like Townes says in the lyrics at the top. Or maybe Warren Zevon said it correctly in Ain’t That Pretty At All:

Going to hurl myself against the wall
‘Cause I’d rather feel bad than feel nothing at all 

On that note, let’s get to this Sunday morning music which is, of course, the song Nothin’ from the late great singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt. His voice is a bit of an acquired taste but on songs like this, its flat simplicity and plaintive tone are absolute perfection. One of my favorites from many that he wrote. I have also included a bit of a different version from the Grammy winning collaboration of Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. Plant’s falsetto set against the heavy crunch of Krauss’ electrified fiddle make it a powerful version.

Have a good Sunday.

PS: The painting at the top Exiles: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a reminder that I will be giving an Art Talk this coming Thursday, September 12 beginning at 6 PM, at the Patterson Library Octagon Library in support of my Icons & Exiles exhibit that hangs there until September 20.


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Coming Up!

Exiles: The Writing’s on the Wall

Here is what is on the agenda for the next couple of weeks:

  • A week from today, on Thursday, September 12, I will be giving an Art Talk in the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield, NY. It begins at 6 PM and will focus on my exhibit that hangs there until September 20, Icons & Exiles. This exhibit has a lot of stories attached to it that I will be sharing. There may be some surprises.
  • My annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA takes place on Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM. This is usually a fun event with some surprises. More details will be coming soon. I have my eyes on a sweet 1977 Ford Pinto as a possible giveaway. Needs a little buffing (and a passenger side door) but it comes with its own fire extinguisher!
  • In early November, I will be leading a two day Painting Workshop at the Arts Center of Yates County in Penn Yan, NY. It takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, November 6 and 7, running each day from about 9 AM to 4 PM. You can get more details by going to their site by clicking here. It’s a lot of fun but we cover quite a bit of territory in two very full days.

 

Hope to see you at one of these events!

 

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“Pondering Solitude”- Part of the West End Gallery show ending Friday

Around this time of the year, I always want to apologize to the folks that read this blog. Much of the content revolves around promoting of the work in my shows or my talks. Though I know it’s a necessary evil and part of my job, it’s still something I would rather not have to do. With two shows hanging and two more talks coming in the next few weeks, which means more promotion here, I thought I’d run a post from 2015 that includes a post from 2011. It sums up pretty well what I feel about the whole thing.

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The time just before the solo shows and gallery talks that are a big part of what I do is the hardest time for me, by far the most stressful and difficult part of this whole art thing.  There’s a direct conflict between my internal need need to seek solitude and the external need to discuss and promote my works and the galleries where they hang.  For weeks leading up to events, solitude is pushed to the rear and the act of promotion takes center stage.

The ego becomes a foe at this point and I am soon tired of hearing my own voice and experience a bit of self-loathing at times. But I feel compelled to persevere out of the duty and loyalty to the galleries that represent me and the need to make a living for myself. It is the part of the job that probably is the hardest hurdle for any artist to clear, a sometimes unsavory task that keeps many artists from reaching their largest audience.

Here are a few other thoughts on the subject from a few years ago, right around this same time in the 2011:

I was asked yesterday what I was going to speak about in today’s gallery talk at the West End Gallery. I kidded that I was going , of course, to speak about me.

Me, me, me.

I went on to explain how I approach these talks, trying to read the group in attendance and finding something of interest in the work that sparks a dialogue where they participate. The hope being that they leave with a little more insight into the work and I leave with with a little more knowledge of how they view it. But that offhand joke yesterday about me has stuck in my craw. Just joking about it has bothered me somehow. 

One of the conundrums of art is that you are expressing a sometimes very personal aspect of yourself in a public forum, exposing one’s weaknesses and flaws to the world for all to see. The need to do this is the need for an affirmation of one’s own existence in this world. I know that this has been the case for myself. I have often felt insignificant throughout my life in this world, unseen and unheard. But it seemed to me that my life, like all others, had to have meaning of some sort and that my feelings and thoughts mattered as much as any other being’s.

If I was here and thinking, I mattered.

Cogito ergo sum.

Until I fell into painting I never found a way to affirm this existence, an avenue to allow my voice to be finally heard. But having found a method of expression, the question becomes: What part does ego play in this? Where is  that line that separates the need for self-expression from base self-glorification?

This has always bothered me. Even though I want to express myself and want my work to hopefully affect others, this constant self-promotion puts one at least on or near this dividing line. For me, that’s an uncomfortable position. Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to my work, I certainly have the confidence of ego. It may be the only part of my world where I have supreme confidence though, on many days, even that is shaky.

But on days like today, when I have to talk about “me, me, me,” I always get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach both before and afterwards. Before because of the dread of exposing myself as a fool and afterwards from the fear that I did just that. 

Oh, well.  All just part of the job…

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“Breakout” Currently at the West End Gallery

Not much to say here today.

This week marks the last chance to see my Moments and Color show at the West End Gallery. The show ends this coming Friday, August 30.

My Icons & Exiles show will hang until September 20 at the Patterson Library Octagon Gallery in Westfield, NY. There will be an Art Talk there on Thursday, September 12 at 6 PM.

I am in the process of getting ready for my 17th annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It takes place on Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM. I am looking for a prize to give away that equals the 1970 Gremlin from the West End Gallery talk earlier month. This is going to be a tough task.

I thought I’d play a video this morning to kick off the week with some energy. It’s a video of Led Zeppelin from 50 years ago, in March of 1969, playing live in a Danish television studio. This was just after the release of their first album. In another video from this session you can see the small audience file in and sit in a semi circle around the band. There are maybe 50 or 60 people, at best. And they played like they were in front of a full arena. It’s a great but long performance, over 12 minutes long, but the first couple of minutes are definitely worth a look. Have a good day and here’s How Many More Times.

 

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First, want to thank everyone who came out to the Octagon Gallery at  the Patterson Library on Friday evening to see the work in the Icons & Exiles show that opened there. I met a bunch of new folks who were not familiar with my work and got to tell the stories behind a number of the folks that populate this particular group of paintings. It was a very enjoyable time.

And many thanks to Nancy Nixon Ensign who curated and hung the show. She did a fantastic job of mixing the works from various series into a cohesive unit that invites you to move slowly around the space so that you can take it all in. Great job, Nancy!

I will be giving an Art Talk on this show on Thursday, September 12, so if you’re in the Westfield area– which is a charming town!–try to make it there. The show itself hangs until September 20.

For this Sunday morning music I am going with one of my favorite Bob Dylan song from more recent times. By that I mean within the last twenty years or so. With a career that spans almost 60 years, you sometimes have to specify from what period a song might come. This song, Thunder on the Mountain, is from 2006.

Have yourself a good day…

 

 

 

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My Icons & Exiles exhibit opens tonight at the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield, NY. There is an opening reception that runs from 7-9 PM. The show hangs in the gallery until September 20. If you’re in the area, please stop in and I’ll be glad to spend some time telling you some of the stories behind the work in this show.

And there are a lot of stories in this show.

Much of the work in this show is from what I consider my three most personal series of paintings, the Exiles, the Outlaws and the Icons. For example, the painting at the top is the first painting completed in the Exiles series back in 1995 and is titled A Prayer For Light. For myself, from a standpoint of meaning, it might be the most important painting I’ve done. It hasn’t been displayed publicly in well over 20 years.

I am proud of this show and believe it is an interesting exhibit, one that I hope will provoke thought in those who see it. The Patterson Library is a beautiful building and the Octagon Gallery is a wonderful space in which to show work.  I hope you can make it to the lovely town of Westfield to see it.

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ICONS & EXILES

Now at the Octagon Gallery at Patterson Library, Westfield, NY 

Runs From Friday, August 23- Friday, September 20, 2019

Opening Reception Friday, August 23, 7-9 PM

Art Talk Thursday, September 12, 6-7 PM

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