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Archive for the ‘Influences’ Category

9913217-fragments-sm“All there is, is fragments, because a man, even the loneliest of the species, is divided among several persons, animals, worlds. To know a man more than slightly it would be necessary to gather him together from all those quarters, each last scrap of him, and this done after he is safely dead.”
Coleman Dowell, Island People

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It’s been hard finding footing lately in the studio.  It’s been hard to just get started on most days.  There are plenty of factors that play in to this, some external and some internal, some that I can control and some I cannot.  But the end result is the same: I am left feeling fragmented, broken into shards that don’t want to reassemble easily in the form of my work.

I am not worried however.  This is not the first time I’ve felt so fragmented nor will it be the last.  I know that I come apart at times and have to bide my time, just continuing to try to put myself back together so that I may uncover what I know is waiting there for me.

It’s there. It may seem an awfully long way away but I can see it and I know that while it may take time and much effort, I shall be together with it again.

The painting above is a piece that has been with me for a while now.  One of the orphans that come home to reside for a bit.  I wrote about it last year when I thought I might change its name to Dimming of the Day but it still remains under its original title, Fragments, in my mind.  And I suspect it will stay that way.

This painting is based very much on this feeling that I am experiencing at this moment and when this feeling emerges, I often think of this painting.  There is darkness and distance here.  The space between the Red Chair and the house has a certain weight that makes me feel as though there is something more than physical distance at play here. The sky, a confetti-like blend of thousands of little fragments of brushstrokes that gave the painting its title originally,  represents, for me at least in this piece, the world falling out of harmony.

Dark, distant and coming apart.

Yet despite that I find this painting very comforting.  I think that goes back to what I said above, that I know this place well from past experience .  I know how to navigate it and know that the distance is not so great nor the darkness too deep.  And I know that the parts are still in place to come together again in the future if I simply exercise patience and don’t give in.

It’s funny how that works.  I walk by this painting several times a day in the studio and it’s often without a thought as my mind is preoccupied with something else.  But every so often I stop before it and suddenly all of these feelings flood back on me when I look closer.  I’m glad it works that way, actually.

Here’s a nice version of the Richard Thompson song whose title, Dimming of the Day,  I was thinking about renaming this painting.  It’s a strong yet tender version from Tom Jones.  Have a good day…

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The Hours

paul-serusier-les-heures-1919-the-hoursI’ve been a little back on my heels lately.  I am sure I am not alone in this aspect.  I’ve been trying to find something that catches me and fires me up in a positive manner.  Something that pulls me forward in some way.

Any way.

Maybe it will come from the painting above.  It is titled Les Heures (The Hours) from the French painter Paul Sérusier who lived from 1864 until 1927.   It may not be a name that you know well but he was highly influential in that time and was a pioneer in the development of abstract art.  I urge you to look further into his work.  Good stuff.

But this piece intrigues me very much and makes me want to pull something from it for myself.  I don’t know what it is yet but I want to keep looking.  Then hopefully something will come.

As I said, hopefully…

 

 

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teenage-werewolfFirst, let me extend thanks to everyone who came out to the show at the Kada Gallery on Saturday night.  It was great seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones.  And thanks to Kathy and Joe at the Kada for their longtime friendship and encouragement–you provided me with a wonderful night.  If you didn’t make it out there, you can still see the show as it hangs until December 3.

Now, today is yet another Halloween.  It doesn’t have the same impact on me now as it did when I was much younger but I still get a kick out of this  night and all the goofiness around it.  And I have to say that the imagery that swirls around this night was very influential to me when I was a kid.  You often see macabre imagery show itself in the work of student artists.

So in honor of this most hallowed evening, I thought I’d throw out some scary music but there isn’t a great selection of monster themed music.  Oh, there’s the Monster Mash but that gets played to death this time of the year, much like Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer at Christmas.  And the Addams Family or Munsters themes are memorable but not what I’m looking for.

cramps-bad-music-for-bad-peopleBut there are the Cramps.

The Cramps emerged out of the NY punk scene of the 70’s with a distinct sound  that influenced by rockabilly and the B-Horror movies of the 50’s.  Two guitars and a small drum kit- no bassist- and a leader called Lux Interior and a girl guitarist/femme fatale named Poison Ivy, the Cramps’ music was often called psychobilly.  Many of their songs paid direct homage to old horror flicks, like Human Fly and the one I’m highlighting here, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, which starred  a very young Michael Landon in a pretty kitschy story.  It might not be high art but the Cramps created some high energy creep-tastic stuff, very appropriate for a most inappropriate night.

Below I Was a Teenage Werewolf I’ve included their even more creepy TV Set.  Give a listen and have yourself a very spooky night.

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GC Myers-- Into the Clear AirI said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

T.S. Eliot

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I’ve read these lines from T.S. Eliot before but it was only this morning that I equated them to the creative process.  Well, so far as I see it in my own experience.  You see, you can struggle to describe in words how things come about, how things finally appear.

You might describe an inner process of visualizations and intricate thought synthesis, of pulling deep emotions to the surface and so on.  Maybe that is so but I think it is not really part of the process but is rather an interpretation of what you believe happened.

I think the real creative aspect occurs in a way much like the words above describe– in the stillness and darkness of a meditative void.  The mind emptied and all thoughts of the past and the future are set aside.  No hopes or desires.  Just a quiet dark blankness that waits in endless patience for the first crackling of light to pierce through.

But there are times when the light doesn’t come and you lose patience in the waiting.  So you start without the light and occasionally, nearing the end of the process, you find that your mind has emptied and the light has caught up with you.  What you are looking at it something quite unlike what you thought it might be when you struggled to begin.

I know this all sounds pretty esoteric, pretty out there and maybe it won’t make a lick of sense to most who somehow slog through to this point. But really it comes down to the idea that you clear the mind and let it just happen.

If it happens at all.  Sometimes the light doesn’t find you.  But on those times when it does, it is like the freshest clear air has wafted over you and left you with a feeling of ethereal lightness. The clearest air.  And I guess that is why I keep doing this and probably will until the day I die.

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The painting above is a 16″ by 20″ canvas titled Into the Clear Air and is included in Part of the Plan, my show that opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, at the Kada Gallery in Erie.  The reception begins at 6 PM.  Hope you can make it!

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GC Myers- The Introspective MindIntrospection, or ‘sitting in the silence,’ is an unscientific way of trying to force apart the mind and senses, tied together by the life force. The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents.

Paramahansa Yogananda

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I often consider my landscapes as being deeply introspective even though by their very nature they are outward looking.  They are most often scenes where the central figure– the Red Tree in most cases– finds itself in a moment and place where the inner and outer, the mind and the senses, converge.

It is a moment of calmness, one that allows the mind to expand and soar outside itself, to see the world and itself from new perspectives.  It allows it to see all that it is and is not.  To see all possibility, paths that are open but not yet visible.  Perhaps even a return to divinity as the words of the great Hindi yogi Paramahansa Yogananda states in the quote above.

I like the idea of this juxtaposition of contrasts, the inner and the outer set side by side, each strengthening the other so long as they stay in balance.  I can’t say that I go into a painting with that as a goal in the front of my mind.  I think it’s just one of those things that when you recognize it in the final product realize that it was what you were looking for even though you didn’t know it at the outset.

And perhaps letting it slip from your consciousness was the key all along.  Trying too hard to find something so elusive usually ends in failure.  But just letting things go without placing too much emphasis on any aspect sometimes brings what is important to the forefront.

I know that in this new painting, a 15″ by 30″ canvas titled Introspection, that how I see it now had little to do with where I initially thought it would go or say.  At its start I never gave a single thought as to leading it to the message that it now holds for me.  I just let the paint work, let my mind move freely in the forms and color to release what it ultimately held.

So maybe that is the key– to free the mind from the senses as Yogananda says.  Easier said than done…

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The painting above, Introspection, is included in Part of the Plan, my solo show opening October 29 at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.

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GC Myers- WatchmanFor thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

Isaiah 21:6

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The biblical verse above is of course the one which was the basis for the title for Harper Lee‘s sequel, to her classic To Kill A Mockingbird.  In the books, Scout regarded her father, Atticus Finch, as such a watchman, a moral and righteous sentinel looking out for injustice and evil.

And that is kind of how I see the central figure of this new painting, the lone Red Tree set high on rocky outcropping in what seems to be an endless sea.  Maybe it is the red of the sky that sets such a tone.  I don’t know.

I’ve been fascinated by small islands in my work lately.  The isolation of them gives these pieces a brooding quality and reminds me a bit of working as an artist.  I’ve often felt that the job of an artist is to act as a sort of watchman.

It is very much a job of isolation, one that is often formed in the solitariness of youth when one always felt like an outsider, observing the world quietly and mostly unseen from the edges of life.  The work itself is done and grows in isolation but is very much influenced by one’s observations of the world around them.  And much of the work, if it reaches the level of art, is based on a sensitivity to what that artist has observed and felt.

And maybe that is the real purpose of artists, to act as a watcher, looking to warn us of our own straying from reason and to keep our humanity intact.  Maybe that is what I see in this painting.

gc-myers-defiant-heart-smThis painting is 8″ by 24″ on canvas and is titled, of course, Watchman.  It is coming with me to the Principle Gallery this Saturday, September 17, when I give my Gallery Talk there beginning at 1 PM.  There will be a group of new paintings including this piece as well as a group of selected pieces from my studio that will only be available for that day.  And there is, of course, the drawing at the end of the talk for the painting, Defiant Heart.

Should be a good time and I hope you can make it to the Principle Gallery this Saturday!

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Hugette Caland-- Boat Race on the Potomac

Hugette Caland– Boat Race on the Potomac

I am not going to be able to write much here today but I did want to at least share a few images from artist Hugette Caland.  Born in Lebanon in 1931 to a father, Bechara El Khoury, who was to become the first President of that country in 1943, Hugette Caland, now 85, lives and works in .  Over the past five decades she has created a wonderful and diverse body of work that has become very celebrated in recent years.

I am showing the pieces that struck me but be advised that this is only a tiny glimpse of the range of her work.  I was immediately struck by the piece at the top, Boat Race on the Potomac, a very large piece measuring something in the area of 5′ high by 11′ wide.  Many of the pieces shown here, such as this piece, are very large textile wall hangings that are done with markers.  It set off all kinds of fires in my brain when I saw it and during the past few trying weeks has been an image that I often return to when I get a chance to move my mind away from the situation at hand.

As I said, I don’t have time today to spend much time giving all the background info that Hugette Caland and her work deserves but I just wanted to share these images as I feel they have something to say to me at this moment, something that I will use moving forward.  Please take a look and I urge you to seek out her story and some of the other images and videos available online.  Great stuff.

Hugette Caland-Rossinante Under Cover III diptych 51x84  mixed media on canvas 2011

Hugette Caland-Rossinante Under Cover III diptych 51×84 mixed media on canvas 2011

Hugette Caland-Rossinante Under Cover IV

Hugette Caland-Rossinante Under Cover IV

Hugette Caland-Out of Venice 58.5x76

Hugette Caland- Out of Venice 58.5″x76″

Hugette Caland-The Purple One 65x165

Hugette Caland- The Purple One 65″ x 165″

  Golden Daisies

Hugette Caland- Golden Daisies

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