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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- 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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GC Myers- Between Here and There



If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.

― Anatole France



The new painting above is the title piece for my new show, Between Here and There, which opens next Friday, June 4 at the Principle Gallery. It is 22″ high by 28″wide in size and is painted on linen.

Like many of my paintings, its meaning lies in a moment captured in a symbolic journey. That moment when one stops to look both ahead and behind and to also savor the moment of pause.

I have sometimes this journey as being like a labyrinth whose twists and turns sometimes gives you glimpses of your far destination even though there is so much more of the pattern to be traveled before reaching it. Soon, you might be at a point where your desired objective seems a million miles away though it seemed so close not so long ago.

The way I see this piece is that the closer Red Tree is at such a moment and sees itself at a future time on that distant hilltop, with an even better view forward into the distance and back into the past. It sees itself there as being a fuller being, wiser and more attuned to the world, than it sees itself here.

That is its desired destination.

But between here and there are obstacles to overcome, hills and mountains to climb and rivers and seas to cross. Battles to be waged and wounds to be healed. People to be found and people to be lost.

Moments of elation and moments of utter despair. Sometimes, the despair so dark and hopeless that the journey seems at an end.

But then, like a twist in the maze, the objective you so desire comes back into view and you stop to take it in. And in this moment as you look forward then look back at all that you have endured, you savor once more this pause.

You are what you are and one day you may be what you desire to be. It may be dark now but tomorrow offers the possibility of light. You remember then that this is how the journey goes, that the trek between here and there is never easy.

Nothing worth having ever is.

That’s my take on it. Your own may and probably should be different. We are, after all, unique creatures.



 

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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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Cezanne- The Kitchen Table 1888-1890

Paul CézanneThe Kitchen Table, 1888-1890



An art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t an art at all… feeling is the principle, the beginning and the end; craft, objective, technique – all these are in the middle.

-Paul Cézanne



Since I am a little short on time this morning as I am in the final days of wrapping up my approaching Principle Gallery show before delivery later this weekend, I thought I’d share a thought from Paul Cézanne that pretty much sums up my view on art, that feeling and emotion is the primary driver behind all art.

Here’s a short video of some of of Cezanne’s better known works for you to examine for their levels of feeling.



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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-mothers-day-1994-sm (1)



Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mothers face.

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



Hard to believe that 25 Mother’s Days have come and gone since my mom passed away. Seems like it was just a year or so back in time.

Longfellow was probably right about art being a product of the influence of our mothers, if I am understanding his words correctly. I know my mom played a role in me becoming an artist if only for the fact that she never discouraged me from following any particular path and always gave the encouragement she could.

I wish she had lived long enough to see that things worked out okay for me and my work. She only saw my earliest work, like the piece at the top that I gave to her on Mother’s Day in 1994 and which now hangs in my studio to remind me of her. She never saw it hanging in a gallery or museum nor would she know that I would end up making art as my livelihood.

Looking around the studio at the work assembled for my show in June, I think she would be really happy with it. I am not saying she would love the work itself. I will never really know that. But she would love the fact that I did it and I know that would be enough, that it would be a source of great pride for her.

And that makes me happy.

Maybe that’s what Longfellow was referring to with his words.

I don’t know. Just going to take some time today to remember my mom, though a day seldom goes by without some trace of her coming through to me. So glad I have those memories of her.

Like the song says: they can’t take those away from me.

For this Mother’s Day Sunday musical selection, here’s a recording of that classic George and Ira Gershwin tune done by Billie Holiday at a later stage of her career, in 1957. I like this performance a lot with Ben Webster on sax and Barney Kessel on guitar.



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