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GC Myers- Distant Communique 2021



How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess



The new painting at the top, Distant Communique, is included in my current solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery. I think I want to let it stand with the words above from the author Frances Hodgson Burnett, best known for her beloved book The Secret Garden.

A language without words. That’s very much what art is. It implies a common knowledge or understanding of how things are and transmitting it from one being to another with gesture and nuance.

We’ve all experienced it, I am sure. A knowing glance across a room. A nod to someone that speaks volumes. The tilt of a head. The evasion or linking of eyes that reveals so much more than the sometimes clumsiness of words.

It’s with this innate understanding, this intuition, we sometimes recognize kindred spirits without a word. The same goes for those we would be better off avoiding.

There’s more to be said on this but that seems somewhat contradictory to the message. Let me just leave it as it is and you might better understand what I am getting at with the painting.



GC Myers- Distant Communique-Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog Page

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GC Myers- To the Calling Moon  2021



Her antiquity in preceding and surviving succeeding tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.

― James Joyce, Ulysses



Well, the opening for my annual solo show at the Principle Gallery is tonight. And I am here in the studio, absent again this year.

Last year, though it felt strange in not being there, it felt necessary. Had to be done but it didn’t feel good to not be able to meet with people to talk and get some feedback about my work. But with another year of distant isolation under my belt, this year’s absence doesn’t feel any better.

In fact, it feels worse.

There’s a feeling of disconnectedness, as though I am way out of whatever loop there is surrounding my work.  Like I am some sort satellite like the moon in the new painting above from this show, To the Calling Moon. I am periodically visible but distant and not there most of the time. There’s more to be said about this analogy but I really don’t feel like going into right now.

This sense of isolation is accompanied by a sharp anxiety from the thought that what little control I had over how my work is perceived is even more diminished. I can’t be there as an advocate and explainer for my work, don’t get a chance to personally see and feel people’s reaction to it. To read faces and body language. It’s never quite the same getting second-hand feedback in that it’s impossible for others to fill in the nuances that I sometimes notice.

But the show must go on, even if without me again this year. I am very pleased on an emotional level with this show and hope that those who make their way to the gallery for this show tonight or later feel that way as well. It’s a show of ponderance as To the Calling Moon can attest.

I think this painting is a good choice for today. Like me, it’s a bit blue. Normally, I put myself in the role of the Red Tree in my work but in this case, I may be that moon– distant and silent.



The title of this year’s solo exhibit, my 22nd at the Principle Gallery, is Between Here and There. It opens tonight, June 4, 2021 at their King Street gallery in Alexandria, VA. You can view the show catalog by clicking here

Below is a favorite song of mine from Neko Case that seems perfect for this morning, both in subject and tone. Thanks so much.



 



GC Myers- To the Calling Moon Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog page

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GC Myers- Crossroads of the World  2021



It was a pity that there was no radar to guide one across the trackless seas of life. Every man had to find his own way, steered by some secret compass of the soul. And sometimes, late or early, the compass lost its power and spun aimlessly on its bearings.

Arthur C. Clarke, Glide Path



Trackless seas of life.

Clarke’s words above certainly resonate with me. We go through our lives pretty much on our own, with little guidance. Oh, folks will tell you how to live your life but they generally have little more insight than yourself. They usually just want you to adhere to their own perceptions, their own idea of how the world should look. And that’s okay. They are as free to do so as you and I are free to not follow their advice.

But for the most part, we stumble and fumble along on our own, following the bearings of that secret compass of the soul that Clarke mentions.

We all follow our own compass, even if we don’t fully realize it. We subconsciously set courses that we don’t yet recognize for some vaguely defined destinations that are just the inkling of an idea in our imagination.

Along the way, we often seem out of place and lost, as though that compass has indeed lost its power and is spinning on its bearings. We then often recalibrate and give up on that first course we had set and set out for some new destination, one that is often within sight and attainable.

But sometimes, after we creep for what seems like ages through the darkness, row endlessly through the doldrums, and hold on through stormy seas with a shaken compass that we find hard to trust, we somehow, wonder of wonder, find ourselves at our destination, now fully realized.

What a strange thing and wondrous thing.

GC Myers- Crossroads of the World in situ Principle Gallery 2021And that is what I see in the painting at the top, Crossroads of the World. It is, of course, part of my solo show that opens tomorrow, Friday June 4, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

The sun here represents that secret compass of the soul. Its rays light the way forward but its direction is forever wavering and sometimes its face is obscured by clouds of all sorts and sizes, some of our own making.

And the crossroads where the paths cross symbolize the crossroads we come to each day as we make our way toward our destination. Every day is a new crossroad, new choices and paths to be considered and made. Some paths take us into the dark of the forest and some lead us out into the clearing, where we can see ahead for what seems like forever.

I great sense of liberation from this piece, that we are free to ultimately follow our own desires, our own longings. But there is as well as a sense of satisfaction that comes from making your own way, for following through on those desires. For persevering through all the detours and setbacks to finally end up in that place that was a tiny half-baked fragment of an idea when it first appeared in your hopes so long ago.

I guess that sounds like a lot to pull out of a painting but, hey, it’s how I see it at this point in time and space, at this crossroads that I was led to by own secret compass of the soul.



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GC Myers- Harmonia Aeternam



There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it’s heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true. God, when he was creating the world, said at the end of each day of creation: ‘Yes, this is true, this is good.’ This . . . this is not tenderheartedness, but simply joy. You don’t forgive anything, because there is no longer anything to forgive. You don’t really love — oh, what is here is higher than love! What’s most frightening is that it’s so terribly clear, and there’s such joy. If it were longer than five seconds — the soul couldn’t endure it and would vanish. In those five seconds I live my life through, and for them I would give my whole life, because it’s worth it. To endure ten seconds one would have to change physically . . . .

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons



I think I understand what Dostoyevsky was describing in the words above. I imagine –well, hope– that most of you have experienced those fleeting seconds where the harmony of everything suddenly becomes evident to you.

All the things that make up the world, the universe, all the planes of existence, and yourself in that rare moment seem to be just where they should be in relation to all other things. It is as though everything is comprised of floating, constantly shifting plates that periodically find themselves in a position where the perfection of eternity is achieved and revealed to the watchful few.

For a few glorious seconds.

Then the plates resume their shifting and harmony seems, at best, just out of reach. Or, in the case of the other extreme, nowhere to be found as the plates shift to a point of chaos and dangerous imbalance.

Maybe that rare moment of eternal harmony –as I know it– is what I am seeing in this new painting that is headed to the Principle Gallery for my annual solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4. It has a feeling of great harmony for me, of things being in alignment, in place. And of the Red Tree as a central figure being aware of the unity of time and place in which it finds itself.

I believe I have experienced episodes of those four or five seconds of clarity and I see it in this piece. I am calling this new 24″ by 36″ painting Harmonia Aeternam. I chose the Latin translation for Eternal Harmony because I felt this piece deserved a weightier title.

It’s strong enough to handle it.

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GC Myers- Pillars of Wisdom- Wait and Hope sm



“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”

Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo



The painting above is another that is included in my show, Between Here and There, that opens June 4 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It is 12″ by 16″ and is also painted on an aluminum panel.

It is titled Pillars of Wisdom: Wait and Hope. This was inspired, in part, by the excerpt above from the classic The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. As I was painting it, I began call this piece Pillars of Wisdom but after it was completed I came across this bit from Dumas. The idea of seeing these being trees named Hope and Wait and that they represent the totality of human wisdom seemed perfect.

So many of us live with a certainty and assurance that is beyond me. We have yet to learn all there is to know, all the answers to the infinite number of questions that hover over us like so many stars in the night sky. Perhaps one day we will fully be bathed in the light that is all wisdom, but until then all we have are those two words: Wait and Hope.

Hope waits for the light to come and Wait hopes for it.

Wait and Hope. What more do you need to know?



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Fanny spoke her feelings. “Here’s harmony!” said she; “here’s repose! Here’s what may leave all painting and all music behind, and what may tranquillise every care, and lift the heart to rapture! When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene.

― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park



GC Myers- Tranquilium smThis is a new painting that is included in my new solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4 at the Principle Gallery. It is titled Tranquilium and is 10″ by 20″ painted on an aluminum panel.

I have recently started painting on aluminum composite panels which are two layers of aluminum sandwiched over a polyethylene core. They are rigid, acid-free and extremely durable which means that a painting done on one of these panels should be long-lasting.

The durability and  stability of my work is something I have thought about since my earliest days as an artist. While I have no control over how my work moves into the future after it leaves my hands, I can at least give it a chance to survive while maintaining the look and integrity of the original painting.

I don’t know if my work will live on but if so, I want it to look as good as possible. I believe work painted on these panels have the best chance at doing just that.

Plus, I like painting on them, Every surface– canvas, wood panel, or paper– has its own feel under the brush. A stretched canvas has an appeal for me in that there is often a drum-like feel and cadence as the brush bounces off the taut surface. It adds to the meditative quality of the process. Paper has a softness that comes through even when it is covered with multiple layers of gesso.

Much like wood or masonite panels but far more stable and unaffected by moisture, the aluminum panels have a unmoving solidity that lets me know how my brush will react as it meets the surface. That helps for my process. I know what is going to happen at that moment. And that’s a good thing.

This piece, Tranquilium, has satisfied something within me. It has a stillness and placidity that feels timeless so it’s natural that I would like to think that it will live a longer life than my own. Hopefully, it has something in it, perhaps that which Jane Austen’s Fanny described above, that will speak to someone in the future as it does to me in the present moment. Lifting the panel with this painting, feeling its weight and solidity and the way the image comes off the surface, it certainly seems like it might.

I will never know but at least I am giving it a chance.

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GC Myers 2021 Work a sm



Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion, nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark.

― Stefan Zweig, The Burning Secret



The new painting above is part of my June solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. Its title, The Burning Secret, is borrowed from a Stefan Zweig short story. The Austrian Zweig (1881-1942) was a giant of literature in the 1920s and 30’s, his books among the biggest best-sellers and most translated of the time. But he has not come forward in history with the same impact as some of his contemporaries such as Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann, though there was new interest in his work after director Wes Anderson made Zweig’s The Grand Budapest Hotel into a wonderful film.

I am not going to get into Zweig here but the short excerpt form the story at the top seemed to fit so well with what I was seeing in this new painting. The forest of Red Trees has a feeling of danger and menace yet also beckons. I know that, as one possessed of an immature mind despite my quickly advancing age, that the danger possessed in mystery is an attractive thing for this unnurtured sort of mind.

You know you stay out of that place but there is something in there that needs to be found, some mystery to be exposed.

The fractured sky above appears to shed light and clues and the house seems to almost stare into the dark of the forest. Though it is apparently night the light on the fields is surreally mysterious and shadowy.

Yet, even with its evident potential for peril, there is something in this that tells me that the core of this mystery, the secret waiting to be uncovered, is not to be feared. The fear only comes in not knowing which allows the immature mind to run wild.

The more mature part of the mind feels that behind the mystery there may be answers. Perhaps even answers to the larger questions that have plagued one’s mind.

It makes me want to follow that path, that trail running away into the dark.

Who knows what lies beyond?



The Burning Secret is 13″ by 19″ on paper and is matted and framed in an 18″ by 24″ frame. It is included in my solo show, Between Here and There, which opens June 4, 2021 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

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kuebiko

n. a state of exhaustion inspired by an act of senseless violence, which forces you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—mending the fences of your expectations, weeding out invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that’s buried under the surface—before propping yourself up in the middle of it like an old scarecrow, who’s bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.

— The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows



GC Myers- Scarecrow sm

“Scarecrow” -At the West End Gallery

I was browsing through the The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows and came across the definition above for the word kuebiko. It certainly felt right for the time in which we live. It seems there is a flood of senseless violence – a strange term as though there is other sensible violence. I don’t even want to turn on the news in the morning for fear of seeing yet another mass shooting or some other atrocity.

It leaves me feeling, as the definition says, like a scarecrow that has lost all power in scaring off the crows, who is left to just stand there exhausted and exasperated as more and more crows flock around me.

It turns out the word kuebiko is the Japanese name for the Shinto god of folk wisdom and agriculture. Kuebiko is incapable of moving but has comprehensive knowledge and awareness which no doubt makes for a certain degree of sorrow in not doing anything abut the events taking place within sight.

Just thought I’d share a little new knowledge this morning. But now I am feeling a little kuebiko myself and am going to that safe space in my work where I can totally effect change within it.

I am sure there is a word for that as well.

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“One never reaches home,’ she said. ‘But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.”

-Hermann Hesse, Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth



The painting at the top, Home in Sight, is a new small piece that is headed to the West End Gallery for their annual Little Gems show which opens in February. The words above are from a Hermann Hesse book that holds a special place in my heart, a book that served a very important purpose for me when I was struggling at my lowest point. 

It helped me find my way home. 

Often, when I employ the concept of home in my work, that book comes to mind. And I am always so grateful then for what it did for me then. And now because without it there may well not have been a now.

And that’s sort of what I see in this little gem.

Let’s leave it at that today.

Have a good day wherever your home may be.

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