Posts Tagged ‘Abstraction’

GC Myers- Jazz ( Song One)The artist is a man who finds that the form or shape of things externally corresponds, in some strange way, to the movements of his mental and emotional life.

Graham Collier 


I have been working on dream inspired patterned forms, as I’ve noted here several times recently.  I have been incorporating into the layers that make up my skies in simple landscapes where they serve to give added depth and texture.  It works really well in that context and it would be easy to just use it in that way.

But there is something about some of them that make me just push them to the forefront alone without masking them with any representational forms over them.  Something beyond narrative.  Elemental.  Like it is somehow tied to my own internal shapes and forms and patterns.

I was thinking this when I came across the quote at the top from the late jazz musician/composer Graham Collier.  It made so much sense because I think that is, in general, the attraction of art  for me– it’s an external harmony of internal elements.

I didn’t know much about Collier who died in 2011.  He was a bassist/bandleader/composer who was the first British grad of the Berklee College of Music.  He played around the world and also wrote extensively on jazz but he still wasn’t on my radar.  While I like jazz my knowledge, as it is in many things,  is pretty shallow.  So I decided that i should listen to some of Collier’s music.

The first song I heard was titled  Song One (Seven-Four) and it just clicked for me.  It was so familiar and seemed to be right in line with the piece at the top, a 12″ by 12″ painting on masonite panel.  It made me think about the connection with music, how sounds often take the form of shapes and colors in the minds of both musicians and listeners.

Again, very elemental.

So I began to think of these newer pieces as music.  It creates a context that makes sense for my mind, one that gives me a way of looking at the work without seeking representational forms.  It’s an exciting thing for me and I look forward to some newer explorations in this realm in the near future. For Graham Collier’s clarification, I am calling the piece at the top Jazz ( Song One).  Here it is :

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GC Myers- Plates 2015I had a dream a month or so ago that has had me working on fields of painted shapes, trying to recapture the forms that captivated me in that dream.  It’s an elusive thing and I am still trying to figure out where this fits in my work.

GC Myers- Time Frames  smI have used many of these attempts as the background texture under a few pieces featuring some of my normal imagery– the Red Tree in a landscape for example, like the painting shown here on the right.  I like the added depth that this background gives the work and could easily see it becoming a regular part of my process.

But part of me sees the painted group of shapes as an entity in and of itself, something that could and should stand alone.  Even though I feel my normal work is built primarily on abstract forms, showing a piece like the one shown here at the top of the page feels different in many ways, some of which raise fears in me.

First of all, it is based less on emotion than most of my work.  I think my work comes often across because it speaks of and to emotions common to us all.  This work feels more purely meditative, like I am looking at the building blocks of thought and matter.  They simply exist.  No emotion, no judgments, no narrative to fulfill.

And that scares me a bit.  Takes me out of my comfort zone and leaves me feeling more exposed even though I might actually be showing fewer aspects of myself in the work.  Maybe it’s a case of standing naked without the protection of any sort of cover, asking viewers to accept me as I am without trying to influence them with my choice of what I wear over my true being.

That’s a hard thing to do when you’ve been standing in front of people in one guise for so long.  So I struggle tying to determine if this new work can stand naked and alone.  There is much more to explore in it and over the next few months I hope to find the answers I am seeking.

As with all things, we shall see…

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Wassily Kandinsky- Composition VIII  1923In the final analysis, every serious work is tranquil….Every serious work resembles in poise the quiet phrase, ” I am here.” Like or dislike for the work evaporates; but the sound of that phrase is eternal.

Wassily Kandinsky


The above quote is from Wassily Kandinsky and concisely captures what might be the primary motive for my work. I think, for me, it was a matter of finding that thing, that outlet that gave me voice, that allowed me to honestly feel as though I had a place in this world. That I had worth. That I had thoughts deserving to be heard. That I was, indeed, here. 

That need to validate existence is still the primary driver behind my work. It is that search for adequacy that gives my work its expression and differentiates it from others. I’ve never said this before but I think that is what many people who respond to my work see in the paintings- their own need to be heard. They see themselves as part of the work and they are saying, “I am here.” 



I wrote the above a little over five years ago in one of the early posts on this blog.  I came across it and was going to re run it alone because I still feels it sums up a lot of what I feel about  my work but I also wanted to expand just a bit more on Wassily Kandinsky, who ended up not really getting much notice in this outside of his quote.

Kandinsky, who was born in Moscow in  1866  and died in Paris in 1944, was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century,  leading the  way into abstraction in painting.  I have sometimes been ambivalent about his work- some I have found entrancing but others have done nothing for me.  But seeing it chronologically, from his earliest efforts until the years just before his death, has made me see him in a different light.  Seeing his evolution from a painter strongly influenced by his mentors  and contemporaries to an artist with a distinct voice of his own is remarkable to witness.  This was a man who was always seeking more than he was seeing, an artist who didn’t rest at a plateau.  Seeing this evolution gave me a new respect for the work of Kandinsky

To see this clearly and for yourself, I suggest you go to WassilyKandinsky.net.  His career is divided into four sections and  each has a chronological gallery of work that you can scroll down.  It’s worth a look.

Wassily Kandinsky- Couple Riding   1906 Wassily Kandinsky-  Murnau. A Village Street  1908 Wassily Kandinsky  -Softened Construction 1927     1925Wassily Kandinsky- In Blue  1925  1923Wassily Kandinsky  - Decisive Pink  1932

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Frantisek Kupka was another one of those supremely talented painters from the late 19th/early 20th century who is little known outside the world of museums these days.  You probably won’t stumble across a Kupka calendar or mousepad.  But when I  see the scope and quality of his work I wonder why.  I know I hadn’t heard of him when I first came across his work in a book of Symbolist paintings.  I saw this image shown here, Resistance or The Dark Idol, and was immediately struck by the tension and drama in its mysterious setting.  I was surprised when I saw his other work that was beautifully colored and striking in other ways.

Kupka- The Yellow Scale (1907 Self Portrait)

Frantisek Kupka was a Czech painter who was born in 1871 and died in 1957 in France.  His career saw his work move from the early symbolic work to pure abstraction.  In fact, Kupka is considered one of the founding members of  the group, Abstraction-Creation, that set off the abstract movement.  While I found much of his abstract work beautiful, it was the early work that really pulled me in.  It was obvious that he could have worked extraordinarily well in any style he chose.  But his relative anonymity remains a mystery to me.  Perhaps he never had that one  iconic image or series that became associated with his name.  Monet’s water lillies.  Van Gogh’s starry night.  Gauguin’s Tahiti. Whistler’s mom.

I don’t know the whys behind this.  But his talent is no mystery at all.  It is evident in every piece I have come across. 

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