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GC Myers--Facing Mystery 2021



Faith and love are apt to be spasmodic in the best minds: Men live on the brink of mysteries and harmonies into which they never enter, and with their hand on the door-latch they die outside.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letter to Thomas Carlyle, March 1838



I think that the words above from Emerson to Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle perfectly fit the vibe I get from the painting above, Facing Mystery, another new painting now hanging at the Principle Gallery.

So often we avoid following the paths of both those mysteries and aspirations that haunt us. We often face, or worse yet, create barriers– here it is a forest of red that seems dark and deep– that we use as an excuse for staying in our safe and consistent space.

Close to home or as Emerson put it, with their hand on the door-latch.

It’s understandable. I don’t fault anyone for wanting to stay in their own safe and secure comfort zone. I might be a prime example of that right now, sequestered in my own dark forest, panicked sometimes at the thought of venturing outside it. Luckily for me, mysteries and aspirations as well as the harmonies to which Emerson refers are close at hand here.

For the most part. But even as I rationalize my own safe existence, I know there are more mysteries and harmonies, with answers and depths to be added to my being, out there to be found if I can only shake free of my own door-latch.

That might be the existential question here: Are we willing to face and follow the real mystery of our lives?

I don’t have an answer for myself yet.

I am hopeful and feel willing but find myself still holding onto that door-latch of that simple little house.



Facing Mystery is part of Between Here and There, my current solo exhibition at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The show, my 22nd annual at the Principle Gallery, opened June 4th and hangs there until the end of this month.

ΩΩΩΩΩΩ



GC Myers- Facing Mystery Principle Gallery 2021 Catalog page

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GC Myers- All Fall Down sm



Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.



I was thinking of the old nursery rhyme when I named the painting above All Fall Down. It’s a small piece included at my current show hanging at the Principle Gallery.

I was thinking of it in terms of how most of us stumble at some point in our lives. We sometimes find ourselves face down on the ground– physically or emotionally or sometimes both.

The trick, of course, comes in getting up.

Maybe I shouldn’t say trick. Maybe triumph would be a better word because every time we drag ourselves to our feet is a victory of sorts. Some of us don’t make it up every time so there’s cause for some small celebration.

I used the old nursery rhyme above at the top without even thinking about its origins which come from the Black Death or Bubonic Plague that ravaged Europe from the 14th to 17th centuries.

The first line– ring-a-round the rosie — refers to the red rings or rash that would first show on the victim’s skin. These would later transform into black boils or buboes.

The second line– a pocket full of posies — refers to the belief then that the disease was transmitted through a bad smell. People would carry flowers and put them to their faces in public to protect themselves from the bad odors. The plague doctors wore an odd birdlike mask which was shaped so as to allow the beak to be filled with fragrant flowers to protect them.

The third line– Ashes! Ashes! — can be seen either as the sound of a cough or sneeze from the disease or the ashes and soot in the air from the mass burning of the many bodies of the deceased.

The last line– We all fall down — is pretty obvious. So many died that one’s own mortality was unavoidable. Probably why such a thing ended up as a nursery rhyme. No sense in trying to hide something from the kids when you’re walking by piles of folks on the street.

But at least they didn’t have to deal with being magnetized! While on the way to the studio this morning, I walked by my car and found myself stuck to the side of it, an unwitting victim of  my vaccination! It took me twenty minutes to pry myself free and be on my way. And even then it was with a garden rake firmly attached to my butt.

Of course, I kid. When you’re faced with craziness and ignorance sometimes the only response is to laugh. Or make up simple songs and nursery rhymes. A couple hundred years from now folks might well be singing ditties about Magnetic Mary or something like that.

Let’s just hope that this time, as in the past, that we are able to get back up after the fall.



GC Myers- All Fall Down in situ PG 2021

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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- Inherent Dignity 2021

“Inherent Dignity”- Now at the Principle Gallery



What people regard as vanity—leaving great works, having children, acting in such a way as to prevent one’s name from being forgotten—I regard as the highest expression of human dignity.

― Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage



How do you want to be remembered?

That’s a question I think most of us don’t want to be asked because it raises the specter of our own mortality. Besides, some may say, we will be gone so what does it matter what anyone thinks of us, if they think of us at all?

Even so, it’s an interesting question, one that might say more about how we should live our lives now than how we are thought of when we are gone.

I was going to say that I believe most of us desire to be thought of in glowing terms– thoughtful, loving, generous, fair minded, patient, honest, loyal, and so on. These positive traits come easily when we think of ourselves and our legacy beyond this life.

But not many of us want to be remembered as vindictive, small minded, petty, hateful, dishonest, stupid, or any of a thousand other traits with negative connotations. But many of us find it hard to shake these negative ways while living the only life we are guaranteed. Actually, it seems as though our culture almost celebrates these negatives now, that being ignorant, selfish, and angry is a point of pride.

A moronic badge of honor.

Is this how we would wish to be remembered in the future? Is that the legacy we wish for our name when we are gone?

I hope not.

I hope most of us would like to be thought of in terms that dignify our existence, ones that show we were worthy of our time spent here.

The tragic part of this is that this is not a difficult thing to accomplish. Opting for a dignified legacy is often just a matter of choosing to do so. It comes in simply thinking before reacting and in rejecting our worst impulses when faced with simple daily decisions and interactions.

We can choose to lead lives of dignity and nobility. Both are part of our makeup if only we choose to exercise our right to choose them.

We have an inherent dignity, which is also the title of the new painting at the top. I know that my choice would be to live my life like the Red Tree in this piece– straight and forthright and out in the open so that my flaws and strengths are visible to all who might look my way.

I figure that if I use that example in living my own life, someone will; remember me for my good points rather than my worst impulses. Or so I hope.

I wasn’t planning on writing this this morning. In fact, I almost skipped today. But I decided to push forward and write a bit. I hope it makes sense since it is off the cuff.

Maybe consistency and persistence will be part of my legacy?

I’ll never know.

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GC Myers- Standing Proud  2021



I find I am much prouder of the victory I obtain over myself, when, in the very ardor of dispute, I make myself submit to my adversary’s force of reason, than I am pleased with the victory I obtain over him through his weakness.

― Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) The Complete Essays



At the top is Standing Proud, a new painting that is included in my solo show, Between Here and There, at the Principle Gallery that opened this past Friday.

I hesitated in using the word proud in the title for this painting. The word itself has connotations of boastfulness and certainty for me. I am not a fan of either. I see both as being more on the vanity end of the pride spectrum, more about caring what other people think or how they affect others.

Like the thought above from Montaigne, the 16th century French philosopher, I see the more desirable form of pride as coming more from overcoming conflicts and barriers that exist within ourselves. Triumph that comes from being what and who we truly know we are without caring what others think. Or without trying to place ourselves above any others in any way.

For me, pride often accompanies perseverance. Staying true to yourself over time, overcoming the obstacles that arise naturally, and resisting the temptation to abandon principles and beliefs– these are some of the building blocks of authentic pride.

Of course, these are just words and thoughts. We all wish ourselves to be the best us we can be. But life provides us with great challenges and we sometimes come up short. But maybe pride can be found in recognizing that momentary shortcoming and our will to overcome it.

Pride is ultimately the triumph of our self.

Well, that’s my two cents worth of muddled Monday morning philosophy. At two cents, it might be overpriced…

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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- 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-  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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