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GCMyers-- La Bella Vita sm

“La Bella Vita”– Now at the Principle Gallery-16″ x 40″ on canvas



You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon



Came across this new song from Jon Batiste yesterday and immediately knew that I would be using it this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s called Freedom and it celebrates the joy that comes in movement and dance.

Myself, I’m way too self-conscious to be a dancer but I certainly recognize the joy found in it in others, those who dance without any self-consciousness or restraint. But while I may envy them, I also take a little of their joy and freedom for myself.

There’s an infectious quality to that kind of freedom of expression. The good kind of infectious.

Give a listen. It might make you feel like getting up and moving a little. And that’s always a good thing.



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GC Myers-Dropping Clues 2021



There is always a pleasure in unravelling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty.

― Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton, 1848



We all have questions and we all want answers, don’t we? For many of us, it’s just the nature of who and what we are, this need to figure out the mystery of all things. As a result, we sometimes see clues in the mundane and the innocuous.

The color of the sky. The patterns of the stars. The way the light shifts and filters through the trees. The moon’s path and its effect on things here. The way a path winds.

Answers seldom, if ever, come.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we need this mystery hanging in front of us like a carrot tempting a mule. We might be even more dangerous to ourselves, if that’s possible, if we definitively knew our origins, our true limits and possibilities. I sometimes think we all have a bit of nihilism tucked away in our genetic codes, one that wants us to burn down the whole shooting match once truth is revealed and there’s no longer any way of wrapping reality in mystery and supposition.

Who knows?

Not me, surely. I am just here for the mystery. Plus, I heard there’d be cake.

Anyway, those are some thoughts inspired by the new painting shown at the top, Dropping Clues, part of my solo show now hanging at the Principle Gallery. I thought this was also match up with an old song from a late singer/songwriter that many of you probably don’t know, Fred Neil. Neil was a highly regarded folk singer in the 1960’s, one of the bigger stars of NYC’s Village folk scene. He is best know for his song, Everybody’s Talkin’, made popular in the film Midnight Cowboy as sung by Harry Nilsson. Most people, myself included, assumed Nilsson wrote the song but it was Fred Neil.

His other popular song is the one I am sharing today, Dolphins. It’s a moody musing on our existence that, in part, reflected Neil’s own fascination with dolphins. He became interested with dolphins in the 60’s and in 1970 was one of the founders of the Dolphin Research Project. From that point on, his life was more or less devoted to watching dolphins. He performed his music only occasionally through the last thirty years of his life, until his death in 2001 at age 65.

This song has been covered by a host of notable performers and has been used in many soundtracks for movies and television. It’s a good song to have on when you’re trying to figure out the mystery.



M

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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- Song of Joy  2021



The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

― Rabindranath Tagore



Titled Song of Joy, this 18″ by 24″ painting on masonite panel is included in my annual solo exhibit Between Here and There, opening Friday, June 4, at the Principle Gallery.

This piece really struck me in a powerful way while it was in the studio. There is something in the brightness and clarity of the colors that just feels joyful to me. And the orange sun rising adds a sense of forward-looking hope to this joy. Even the shapes of the rich green forms in the foreground had a happy, joyful feeling.

It might be one of the more optimistic paintings I have done in some time. There is a positivity that I think reflects the thought above from the great Nobel Prize winning poet/writer Rabindranath Tagore. There is real joy to be found in the recognition that we are all filled from the same stream of life, that the lifeforce of all living things and the atoms of which we are all comprised are from that stream.

This sense of unity, this joyfulness in simply being, also makes the natural sorrows of this world, the inescapable realities of our lifetimes, somewhat easier to absorb. It is, after all, simply part of the stream’s flow. And for all of the joy and brightness of this painting, it has an underlying darkness showing through.

By its very nature, it is brightness built on darkness. It’s something I always want and seek in my work, this sense of visible darkness which contrasts and heightens the light.

Joy in life despite the its hardships.

And in this painting, that is the source of the Red Tree’s Song of Joy.

Here’s a song that sort of expresses this type of joy. It’s Feelin’ Good Again from Robert Earl Keen. It’s a favorite song that I’ve played it here before. It always reminds me of my dad and his bar buddies, many who he had known most of his life. I remember stopping at the bar with him on a number of times on Saturday mornings, a quick pitstop on the way to the horse track, and how all these guys would be so happy in seeing one another, laughing and shouting. It might have been as close to real joy as I ever saw in my dad. This song always feels like it’s a song of joy he would understand.



9921063 Song of Joy Catalog page

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GC Myers- In Rhapsody  2021



My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony.

― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet



The idea of a union between music and painting has long been a theme in my work. I think my new solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria probably explores that idea more than most of my prior shows.

The painting above might be the best example of this. It is titled In Rhapsody and is 24″ by 30″ on canvas. I see all sorts of musical equivalencies or analogies in it. I see the Red Tree here as a conductor of sorts, standing in a sort of spotlight of brightness amidst an orchestra composed of the landscape and the skies and the mountains as he pushes them to a loud crescendo. Something very Beethoven-like or Wagnerian to that, probably due to the influence of Bugs Bunny cartoons in my childhood. I most likely know more about Warner Brothers’ cartoons than I do about classical music but that doesn’t dampen my appreciation for either.

Or I see whole painting as a musical score, the layers of the landscape moving back into the picture plane as movements in a musical piece, each with their own emotional content and inflection that leads to the next, with which it blends and meshes into a building harmony. It builds more and more as the layers move deeper culminating in the movement from land and water up into the red-violet of the sky. The sky here feels like the crescendo here for me.

Everything builds to the drama contained in the color and clouds of that sky.

For me, it has an ethereal, timeless quality that reminds me of a fine piece of music, one that moves people in any time in which it is played. Music and art are emotion-based and while everything in this world is forever changing and the circumstances might be completely different for generations of listeners or viewers, our emotional responses remain very much the same. We coo in love and rage in hate, we laugh in joy, we cry in despair, and so on.

Our emotions are fields of constancy and music and art work their magic in those fields. I hope this piece does that, as well. Of course, this is simply how I personally see and feel the piece and that doesn’t amount to much more than small hill of beans when you get right down to it. How this painting or any other piece of mine works it way into the future is well beyond my control. It has to prove itself.

Below, is an example of a piece of music that I think fits well with In Rhapsody. It is a section from Beethoven‘s famous 5th Symphony, one that builds to crescendo beautifully. The video is a composed of a graphical score with multiple colors and forms that is fascinating to watch as it scrolls along with the music. I thought it was also interesting how the colors of its beginning screen match so well with the painting as you can see in the image below the video.



My annual solo show, Between Here and There, opens this Friday, June 4, at the Principle Gallery at their King Street location in Alexandria, VA. Unfortunately, I will not be in attendance this year. We are hoping for some sort of event, a gallery talk, later in the year as circumstances allow. You can see the show catalog here. Thank you!



GC Myers- In Rhapsody Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog page

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GC Myers- Symphony Serene sm



O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

-Psalm 131, I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul



The painting at the top is titled Symphony Serene and is, of course, from my solo show, Between Here and There,  opening this coming Friday, June 4, at the Principle Gallery. The preview for the show is available by clicking here which takes you to the gallery site.

I have a lot of fondness for this piece and others like it that are spare and inward reaching landscapes with the broken sky, short-hand term that I use for the mosaic-like construction of the skies in these paintings. I believe its the peaceful nature of these pieces that does it for me. There is a serenity achieved in both the end result of the final work and in the process of painting it.

I believe I have spoke of this in the past but painting pieces such as this often have a meditative effect, one where the mind feels as though it is running on a parallel track, completely apart from the conscious. While working on these, everything but the surface in front of me feels blocked out and far away. My mind moves endlessly in and out of the composition, constantly balancing and weighing each individual block of color in a way that creates its own rhythm.

I barely notice but I am constantly sitting then standing then pacing back and forth before the piece. Without thinking, I often walk backwards across the room with my eyes fixed on the painting, sometimes stumbling over other paintings or lightstands in the process. I barely notice and my eyes seldom leave the painting when I stumble. 

Time slips away in the blink of an eye during the process and I will sometimes only stop when the phone rings, breaking the trance that I have been under for five or six hours. It’s only when I stop that I notice the fatigue in my eyes from being so locked in on the surface of the painting. But its a wonderful fatigue, one brought about by being totally in a serene place for hours, a place that I am creating in my mind and on the surface of the painting.

It’s as close to absolute calm and quiet as I ever get.

I wish I could explain it better. 

For this Sunday morning music, I am linking this painting with a choral piece from a favorite composer Arvo Pärt. This is from his work Da Pacem Domine, which translates as Give peace, Lord. This piece below is based on Psalm 131, I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul, which is shown above.

I am not a particularly religious person, as I have mentioned in the past. But there is something in certain sacred music of almost any religion that touches something in me, something more basal, more rawly attuned to the spirit than anything the liturgy and clerics of the churches have to offer. It reminds me of a book from the late 1970’s, The Dancing Wu Li Masters from Gary Zukav. He wrote about the similarities in the worlds of the spiritual and of physics. How theologians and religious scholars and theoretical physicists sometimes met and, stripped of the dogma of the theologians and the math of the physicists, spoke in very much the same terms about the same concepts. They found much common ground and agreement in concept and theory once they were far removed from the politics of their respective establishments.

I find that interesting. Anyway, here is Psalm 131 from Arvo Pärt as performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. For me, it matches up well with my Symphony Serene and is a fine way to start off what looks to be a gray cool day here.



9921029 Symphony Serene Catalog pg

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GC Myers- Blue Haven sm



From my spirit’s gray defeat,
From my pulse’s flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault’s slavery,
If I can sing, I still am free.

For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit’s sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.

― Sara Teasdale, Refuge



Today, I am sharing the painting at the top, Blue Haven, which is another from my annual show, Between Here and There, that opens a week from today, June 4th, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. Previews of the show become available today by contacting the gallery.

I thought I’d pair this painting with the short poem above, Refuge, from Sara Teasdale, the great and tragic American poet. Teasdale (1884-1933) wrote a poem, Strange Victory, that remains a favorite and was the inspiration for a group of my early paintings. Her poem and the painting both deal with creating a refuge or safe haven from the forces of the outer world that so often make us feel as though we have been pummeled without mercy. Finding a way or a place in which we can  hunker down and endure is sometimes all we are left.

Sometimes, just enduring is a form of triumph.

I believe that is what this painting says for me.

I hope it shows itself properly here, so that you can see it for what it is. It was a very difficult painting to photograph with its multiple contrasts and shades of blue, which has aspects and depths that are especially hard to properly capture. After a quite a few attempts I am still not sure that this image fully captures it. The difficult ones, those that are hard to capture and those that deal with complex emotions, are often my favorites. I think it’s because the viewer has to work a bit to fully understand the piece in their own way. It doesn’t offer its rewards easily.

I am also sharing a choral piece that is based on this Teasdale poem. It is surprising how much of her work has been the basis for musical works. I had no idea until I did a quick search this morning and found that there are several different compositions based on this poem alone. The one below spoke most clearly to me. It is  short piece for solo piano written by Edward Enman during the early days of the pandemic using Teasdale’s poem as inspiration. There is also a choral selection from composer Audrey Snyder that is lovely as well.

Give a listen to one or both, if you have a few moments.



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GC Myers-  Invocation in Blue sm



A certain blue enters your soul. A certain red has an effect on your blood-pressure.

– Henri Matisse



Matisse certainly had it right.

For me, blue is the color of the soul and spirit and red the corporeal, the blood and body. Blue is the ethereal. Red is the carnal. I think that is why both colors play such a large part in my work. Actually, they play large parts in the work of most artists. They are two of the three primary colors for a good reason.

But in my work they often symbolize those two parts in us as individual humans– the body and the spirit, the carnal and the ethereal. Having the two come to terms within the picture and within myself is often part of my aim, something I usually don’t recognize until I am examining the painting after completion.

I think this new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas that is part of my new show at the Principle Gallery which opens next Friday, June 4. This piece is titled Invocation in Blue. I see it as dealing with that space between the spirit and the physical in each of us, about how we aspire to our higher aspects but are bound by our earthly desires.

Head in the stars, feet in the mud, figuratively speaking.

And that is sort of what I see here. The Red Tree aspires to the ethereal calm found in the endless blue of the night sky and the peaceful presence of the moon. But it is still rooted in the earth, still comforted and sustained by its earthly needs and desires. The patchwork of reds and purples seem almost like a quilt or comforter that mainly warms and protects but also restrains.

But even so, both of the worlds attached to each color have an appeal of their own. And in this piece, they dwell side by side, as they often do within some of us. It is a painting that has an acceptance of its place in the universe, that recognizes that we can and do exist in both the ethereal and the corporeal worlds. It is a painting of the peaceful balance that can exist between the two.

But, as always, that’s just my opinion. You might see it as something altogether different. And to that, I say, Good for you. That’s just as it should be.

Okay, here’s some music to accompany the painting. It’s also a great song to sip coffee by. It’s the great jazz piece Blue in Green. It is most often associated with Miles Davis. He is credited with writing it and his version is iconic. Brilliant. But I also like the version below from pianist Bill Evans who played on the Davis recording and was later revealed to be the true composer of the tune though he never received credit on the label or in royalties. It’s just a beautiful piece and I like to think it sums up the balance between the two worlds I discussed above.



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GC Myers- Full Moon Fever smHere is another new piece from my solo show at the Principle Gallery that opens next week, on June 4th. This is another of the interior scenes showing a room in the aftermath of some sort of to-do.

Myself, I don’t know exactly what took place and can only imagine.

I think that’s the point of these paintings, to give an endpoint where the viewer has to use their own imagination as to what has occurred. A final paragraph for a short story that gives you the results but not how it got to this point. It can be as vibrant and wild as your imagination allows.

This painting, a 10″ by 20″ canvas, is titled Full Moon Fever. My own story for what has happened is that this is a cabin where Larry Talbot tried to hide from the moon, to no avail. Larry Talbot was the name of Lon Chaney’s character in the original 1941 werewolf movie, The Wolf Man.

Now, that’s my take. Your own story may not line up with this at all and that’s means you’re using your imagination. That is usually a good thing so long as you realize it’s your imagination and not reality. Wild imaginings that folks perceive as reality are not a good thing as we have all seen in way too many instances in recent times.

I borrowed the title of this painting from a Tom Petty album that bore the same name, Full Moon Fever. Here’s Free Fallin’ from that album to honor the memory of Larry Talbot’s howling freefall that came under every full moon.



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9921066 The Admiring Pause sm

“The Admiring Pause”- At the Principle Gallery, Alexandria VA



It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha



Even though I am writing this on Saturday morning, this is Sunday and for the first time since last year I am back on the road, delivering my new show, Between Here and There, to the Principle Gallery. The show, my 22nd solo effort there, open June 4.

Maybe because I have become so used to being ensconced in the studio, the idea of any sort of trip, even a daytrip like this, feels unusual. Strange, like I have somehow forgot how to move among people or talk or act around them. In a way, I feel like a convict who has been in solitary for the past year and is suddenly back among the general population.

Just hope I don’t have to shank anybody.

Just kidding, of course. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Okay, time is fleeting and I still have much to do today (yesterday for those of you reading) before I am ready to do anything tomorrow (today) so let me point out the new painting at the top, The Admiring Pause, which is part of the show. There’s a lot I like about this piece. There is a sense of stillness and fullness that I find very satisfying. Makes me want to sit back and admire it for just a brief moment.

The pause that refreshes, as the old Coca Cola slogan goes.

For this Sunday morning music I thought a piece from Dave Brubeck would go well with this painting. I am going with Koto Song. A koto is a Japanese zither-like instrument and this song was from Brubeck’s 1964 album Impressions of Japan. It’s a nice piece of music that has that elemental stillness that marks much Japanese art. Something I have long admired and desired for my own work. You judge for yourself.



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