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Archive for the ‘Video’ Category


“At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say,—’Come out unto us.’ But keep thy state; come not into their confusion. The power men possess to annoy me I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson


In my Gallery Talk I spoke about the struggle to go inside myself to create in these crazy days. The outer world and its many problems seems to be keeping me from the inner. It’s a frustration that more or less paralyzes me, requiring me to go put in a lot of extra effort just to get down to work.

I am trying to reconcile this, to somehow get past this feeling.

I came across this snippet above from Emerson and it reminded me that I am the one letting the outer world in. Oh, I know you can’t keep it completely out but I was the one opening the door and inviting it in. I was the one who listened to it as it went on about its problems and thought I could somehow help it out, foolish as that idea seems when I write it out. I went, as Emerson writes, into their confusion.

It also reminds me that I get to choose how I respond to the outer world. And being paralyzed is not a choice. It’s a refusal to choose.

So, I choose to shed the paralysis, to get back to work, to explore those inner paths once more. It’s my choice and what I do.

We all have that power to choose how we react to our own forms of paralysis, fear, anger, frustration and so many other negative aspects of our world. Most likely you don’t need to hear this. You probably know this as well as I. But I know I sometimes fall out of rhythm and have to be reminded once in a while.

The painting at the top is from a few years back and lives now with me in the studio. It’s one of those pieces that really hit high notes personally for me right from the moment it took form on the easel. It’s one of those pieces that surprises me in that it hasn’t yet found a home but also please me because I get to live with it for a bit longer. I thought it echoed with the words of Emerson today. It originally echoed with the words from the Rudyard Kipling poem after which it is named, If.

I was going to include the poem here in print but here’s a fine reading of it by actor John Hurt complete with the words shown. And some powerful black and white images.

Have a good day and choose well.


 

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I was checking YouTube yesterday to see if the videos from last week’s Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery were being viewed. As I came to my page I saw a strange looking entry among my suggested videos. It was my name as a title appearing to overlay what I could see was my work underneath.

There was lettering above my name that appeared to me to be Korean. Clicking on it, I saw that it was a compilation of my work set to three pieces of music with photos of me along with what appeared to be biographical info, all gleaned from the internet.

It’s a strange sensation to see your work in this way, compiled and used by someone else. I am sure there are those of you out there who feel I should be upset over the unauthorized use of my imagery in this way and maybe you’re right. But I knew that once I began putting my work online as I do, it would possibly be subject to this sort of thing. I felt it was worth the risk in order to get my work out there.

I sometimes at gallery talks tell the story of the great photographer Brassai asking his best known subject and friend Pablo Picasso for advice on selling some drawings he had created. For how much should he sell them, for example. Picasso, who liked the Brassai drawings, told him to put a very low price on them because he needed them to get out into the world where they could be known and be seen. Where they could establish a name and achieve a noteworthiness that might one day make all his work valuable. Picasso claimed that had been his route.

It’s advice I still give young artists.

And that’s how I view this– a result of putting my work out into the world.

Actually, I am happy and flattered that my work has reached across the world and translates well into other cultures. You go into this hoping your work speaks to all people and to get a small bit of proof that it might doing that is gratifying.

There are worst things in this world.

Take a look, if you so desire. I could do without the photos of myself but I like the musical accompaniment’s different moods. Have a good day.

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I don’t believe that there’s anything I’d like to do less than watch myself talk. And the last couple of days have sure reinforced that belief.

But that’s what I’ve done for the last couple of days as I have edited the video from Saturday’s Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery. I am cutting out some rough spots between the segments, such as where I swing my camera around to tour the gallery a bit or the transition from the prize drawing (which has also been cut) to the Q&A segment. Outside of the prize drawing, which we decided to cut because of privacy concerns, no real content has been cut.

There are going to be two videos. This first one presents just my prepared presentation. The second, which will be out  tomorrow or Friday, will have all the segments.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience and expect that these lessons will show up in future videos of even higher quality. Thanks to Jesse, Linda and John at the West End Gallery for all the extra work (and anxiety) that went into making this happen. It was a lot more work than any of us anticipated. And many thanks to everyone who took an hour or two out of a busy summer Saturday to tune and make it all happen. And congratulations to the winners of the paintings. Hope they live up to your expectations!

Hopefully, as it’s being presented, it will give you a fairly representative gallery talk experience. So, for those of you out there who wanted to take part but weren’t able, here’s the first part of my Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery.

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This year’s edition of my annual solo exhibit, From a Distance, opens today at the West End Gallery in Corning.

As I’ve noted here recently, this year marks 25 years that I have been showing my paintings at the West End. It’s been a long trek from that day in early 1995– I believe it was late January– when I came into the gallery with a milk crate that served as my portfolio, roughly stuffed with bits of painted paper and cardboard. I was hoping for a critique and had no expectations or hopes that that particular day would ever lead to a satisfying career that has spanned 25 years (thus far) and 50+ solo exhibitions that have sent my work around the country and the world, as well.

Funny how one day, one positive reaction, can change your life.

In all those years, this show certainly has the oddest feel for me. It is very bittersweet. There is that celebratory feel that comes with marking 25 years at the gallery, highlighted by what I feel is one of my strongest shows there.

But I am saddened that I won’t be able to fully witness how people see the paintings, to talk with them and describe, person to person, some of the stories and meanings behind them. That’s a big loss for me, personally. I usually pull enthusiasm for moving forward out of these shows and I can already feel the loss.

But that is just another thing to deal with in a year filled with challenges for us all. In big picture terms, it’s pretty small so I choose to focus on the celebratory parts of this show and the work itself. As I said, I believe it is a very strong show and there are so many pieces that I could easily call my favorites.

I hope you get a chance to stop in at the West End Gallery and take in the exhibit. Jesse and Lin have done their usual masterful job in putting the work together and are taking great care to make the experience as safe and comfortable as possible.

Here’s a slideshow of the show — set to a wonderful version of Work Song from Vince Guaraldi — just to give you some glimpses.  Thanks!

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“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

Herman Melville

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Social Distancing, this year’s edition of my annual show of new work, along with some vintage pieces this year, opens tomorrow at the Principle Gallery. It’s in the gallery now and I am enclosing a video slideshow below that previews the show.

As I wrote here recently, this was a tough show to put together, much more difficult than in past years, with plenty of distractions and setbacks. And I think the fact that this was such a hard fought show makes it even more gratifying to see the work in it together as a show.

I think it is the diversity of this show, with its many elements and styles along with the thread of continuity that runs from the early work up to the most recent, that best reflects the multitude of emotional bursts that have marked us a nation in the recent past. Mirroring the highs and lows we are experiencing, there is work that seems darker and foreboding alongside work that is placidly strong and forward looking with hope.

The title, Social Distancing, is definitely a product of this time, an admonition to keep ourselves safe by keeping people away at arms length. Well, maybe not just arms length but six feet, at least. The power of that phrase though is striking because it has pointed out in real terms how much we actually need real human connection to navigate through this world. I would like to think that much of the work in this show displays both the effect of the distance that we are enduring along with the sense of connection we struggle to find in this world. Hopefully, many of us have come to realize that, like the words of Melville at the top, we have a thousand fibers connecting us and that our actions fan out from us, having effects that touch many.

I guess it could be said that even though we might be socially distanced, we can remain spiritually connected. We can still affect others, hopefully in positive ways. Maybe that’s the message I want someone to take from this exhibit.

Maybe not. Hopefully, you will see it in your own way. Those unique interpretations only deepen my gratification.

Here’s the preview. Have a good day.

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I have a project that needs tending this morning so I am going to replay a post about a painting from the enigmatic Symbolist painter, Fernand Khnopff, whose work has been described as “visual realism combined with a mood of silence, isolation, and reverie.” It also includes an interesting video about this painting from the Khan Academy which is a great free site for well done courses and videos on a wide variety of subjects. For those of you with a lot of extra time these days, it’s worth a look.

Fernand Khnopff I Lock the Door Upon Myself

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God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.

All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?…

Christina Rossetti

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The painting at the top, I Lock My Door Upon Myself,  is from Belgian Symbolist painter Fernand Khnopff who lived from 1858 until 1921.  The title is taken from a verse of a poem, Who Shall Deliver Me? (shown in part above), from Christina Rossetti, the pre-Raphaelite poetess whose brother,  Dante Rossetti, was an influence on the work of Khnopff.

It’s a haunting painting, one that always makes me stop a bit when I stumble across an image of it. Perhaps it is the symbolist elements in it but for me it is probably the beautiful construction of forms and color that give the overall piece an almost abstract feel. Just a great image in so many ways.

I came across a video from the free educational series Khan Academy that offers a short and insightful exploration of the painting’s symbolism. Very interesting if you have five minutes or so.

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Thought I’d share the film that won the Academy Award last night for Best Animated Short Film. It is titled, Hair Love, and was written and directed by Matthew A. Cherry, and co-produced with Karen Rupert Toliver.  I saw it yesterday morning on CBS Sunday Morning and thought it was absolutely charming and sweet.

I think we need both of those two things and the humanity they represent, even if it is only for the 7 minutes of this short film.

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night. Since I don’t see many movies at the theater these days, usually waiting until they move to streaming services, I am usually not in any position to root for any one movie. In fact, of this year’s crop of Best Film candidates, I have only seen one, Jo Jo Rabbit, which I thought was marvelous. Both laugh out loud funny and moving, it is one of my favorite films in many years.

But I look forward to seeing the others, particularly Parasite, the Best Film winner from South Korea and the first to ever win as a foreign language film, and 1917, set in WW I. Seems like quite a good crop of films this year.

But for now, from Sony Pictures Animation, take a look at Hair Love. Hope it gets your week off to a good start.

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Yesterday, we observed the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp near the end of World War II. an event which made clear the horrors that the Nazis had perpetrated on the Jews and other groups. One of the survivors of Auschwitz was Viktor Frankl, who went on to become an eminent psychiatrist and author.

His book, Man’s Search For Meaning, is one of my favorite books, one that brought more insight to the world of those who lived through the Holocaust. The lessons from it also helped me through the tough times in my life. The post below from several years back discusses the lesson of that book.

I urge you to read the book. You can even listen to the entire audiobook freely on YouTube. I have included it at the bottom along with a video presentation that gives a brief synopsis of some of the takeaways from the book. It’s short and well done. There is an ad for the Great Courses which takes up the last minute but it’s worth watching.

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GC Myers- The Moment's Mission 2011Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity.

——Viktor Frankl

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The words of Viktor Frankl, the WW II concentration camp survivor who went on to greater fame as a psychotherapist and author, seemed to ring true for this square painting after I finished it. I saw the Red Tree here as one that finally saw its uniqueness in the world, sensing in the moment that with this individuality there came a mission that must be carried out.

A reason for being. A purpose.

I think that’s something we have all desired in our lives. I know it was something I have longed for throughout my life and often found lacking at earlier stages. I remember reading Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning, at a point when I felt adrift in the world. I read how the inmates of the concentration camp who survived often had  a reason that they consciously grasped in order to continue their struggle to live. It could be something as simple as seeing the ones they loved again or finishing a task they had set for themselves. Anything to give them a sense of future. Those who lost their faith in a future lost their will to live and usually perished.

At the time when I read this, I understood the words but didn’t fully comprehend the concept. I felt little meaning in my life and didn’t see one near at hand. It wasn’t until years later when I finally found what I do now that I began to understand Frankl’s words and saw that I had purpose in this world as a husband, an artist and a person of feeling.

We are all unique beings. We all have unique missions. The trick is in recognizing our individuality and trusting that it will carry us forward into a future

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Going Back Home

Have things to do so I am going to be short with this this morning. It’s that time of year and I have to get out of the lazy funk that has hung on me for the last few months and get back to doing some real work.

It’s funny how you can drift away from the thing that makes you feel best. But coming back to it is like coming home.

And that’s where I am headed.

So this morning, for this week’s musical choice, I am going with Tuba Skinny, a group out of New Orleans and their street performance of Going Back Home. Just feels right this morning.

Give a listen. Dance around a bit. Have a good week.

 

 

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I wrote an entire entry just now for this blog and, after reading it over, I decided to chuck the whole thing. Just didn’t hit the mark, didn’t feel right.

Sometimes it’s better to just go back to square one than try to cobble together something that is rickety from the start. Or just do something altogether different.

So, this morning I am just going to say ‘To hell with it’ and play a song that soothes me in some small way.

It’s a Lou Reed song, Sunday Morning, from his days with the Velvet Underground in the 1960’s. The late model/singer Nico, best known for Andy Warhol transforming her into a Pop Art icon, does the vocals here but you can hear Lou’s voice in her vocals.

It has that familiar Velvet’s drone that I think gives it that soothing quality I am looking for this morning. Plus, this is kind of a neat video.

Have a good Sunday, okay?

 

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