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Posts Tagged ‘Albert Camus’

We are at a crucial time in this country and, maybe as well, the world as a whole. I think even those who refuse to pay attention are beginning to see that something very wrong has taken place and there is an effort to find the truth behind it. If this situation were a painting, it began with an underpainting of a scene based on lies. But each new day brings more and more strokes and color in the form of facts and truths that expose the underlying falsehood, the illegitimacy of the scene painted for us two plus years ago.

With each day, the final painting is becoming clearer and clearer.

I could go on but that would most likely be overkill. Too pedantic and preachy.

Instead, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes– I do love a good quote— dealing with lies and liars. A page of lies. Actually, not lies but about lies. As a liar myself, I can attest to the veracity of most of these but you would have to take my word for that. And, believe me (the liar’s favorite phrase, by the way), you don’t want to do that.

Though I think these are all pertinent, the most applicable to the current situation might be the last from Ray Bradbury‘s dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451. Most people will not be told, will not dare to extrapolate into the future. They only see the present moment and even then, it is seen with a subjective sort of vision, the kind that only sees and knows what is in its immediate reach. But once the fallout from this hits them, they will ask how this could have possibly happened, even though they themselves enabled it with their lack of attention.

The Albert Camus quote is also a favorite. The projection of self by the liar is most illuminating.

But don’t trust me, take a look for yourself.

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“ATTENTION, WALMART SHOPPERS…”

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Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.

― Albert Camus

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We’re wrapping up Gratitude Week on Black Friday. So instead of fist-fighting over a cheap TV in front of Walmart with some creepy toothless guy who looks like he just came from cooking his last batch of meth, why not avoid it altogether and focus on those things you already have.

There’s a pretty good chance you already have everything you really need in your life. And if not, you’re not going to find it in a Black Friday swarm.

So take this time to step back and be grateful for the blessings you possess.

Like the song says: Be thankful for what you’ve got…

Here’s that song, one of my all-time faves from Billy DeVaughn. Be of good heart and have a good and peaceful Friday.

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I have been living with this painting, Introspection, for several months now in the studio. It’s been in a spot where my eye regularly falls on it and it never fails to make me pause for a second or two to give it some consideration. It fulfills its title very well for me, reminding me to look inward on a regular basis while trying to shut out the noise of the world of man.

It’s leaving the studio today, heading out to California to hang at the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo. I think I am going to truly miss its gentle reminder.

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Exiles--QuartetWe all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.

Albert Camus

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I have written about and showed a number of the pieces from my early Exiles series here on this blog. It was a very important group of work for me in that it was the first real break towards forming my own voice, creating and displaying work that was emotional for myself. It was also the work that spawned my first solo show in early 1997.

The inspiration for this work was mainly drawn from the experience of watching my mother suffer and die from lung cancer over a short five or six month period in 1995. Her short and awful struggle was hard to witness, leaving me with a deep sense of helplessness as I could only wish that there was a way in which I could somehow alleviate her pain. Most of the work deals with figures who are in some form of retrospection or prayer, wishing for an end to their own suffering.

But another part of this work was drawn from my own feelings of emotional exile, a feeling of estrangement in almost every situation. I had spent the better part of my life to that point  as though I didn’t belong anywhere, always on the outside viewing the world around me as stranger in a strange land, to borrow the words of that most famous biblical exile, Moses. These figures were manifestations of that sense of inner exile that I carried with me.

Little did I know that these very figures would help me find a way out of this exile. With their creation came a sense of confidence and trust in the power of my self-revelation. I could now see that the path from the hinterlands of my exile was not in drawing my emotions more and more inward, allowing no one to see. No, the path to a reunion with the world was through pouring this emotion onto the surface of paper or canvas for all to see.

This is hard to write and I am struggling with it as I sit here this morning. I started writing this because I had been reconsidering revisiting this series, creating a new generation of Exiles. But in pondering this idea I realized that the biggest obstacle was in the fact that I no longer felt so much a stranger in a strange land. I no longer felt like the Exile, no longer lived every moment with these figures. It turned out that they were guides for me, leading me back to the world to which I now feel somewhat connected, thanks to my work.

If there is to be a new series, they will most likely not be Exiles.

The piece shown here, Quartet,  is one of my favorites, a grouping of four figures.  You may not see it in these figures but the visual influence for this work were the carvings found on Mayan ruins of Mexico and Central America.  I myself see this mainly in the figure at the bottom right.

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Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable. 

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

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This is another new painting that is headed to the Principle Gallery for my solo show that opens on June 2. The name I chose for this show is Truth and Belief, two concepts that often, especially in this past year of confusion, get jumbled up in our minds

At least, that’s what I believe. It might be true. Or not.

You see, that’s the thing.  We often claim to want to know the truth but what we want is validation. We want a truth that confirms what we already believe to be true.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

And in the face of a truth that contradicts their beliefs, some will hang onto their misguided belief with even greater tenacity.  They view the truth at this point as an adversary, something to be overcome or at least pushed aside to make room for their belief.

But truth is always there, like it or not.  It will at some point come into view for all to see, believers and non-believers alike.

And that’s what I see in this piece.  The path going into the picture separates with one branch heading into the forest  where the view will be limited by the trees and the terrain. The other branch follows a route that takes it to a higher point where the view is unobstructed. The truth of that time and place is clear and undeniable despite what one might believe.

Now a disclaimer: I don’t know if any of this is actually true.  But I do believe it to be so. As much as it can be for a schlub sitting in the woods in front of a computer at 6 in the morning. Once I climb to a better vantage point I might think otherwise.

This piece is titled Seeking Truth and is 12″ by 12″ on canvas.

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GC Myers--The StrangerAnd I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still.

Albert Camus, The Stranger

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It’s a time that very much feels like something out of a piece of dark literature, something torn from the pages of Camus’ The Plague or The Stranger or Kafka’s The Trial.  There is something coldly oppressive in the atmosphere. The prevailing logic and language of the world seems alien and indecipherable. The world at large is indifferent to the lessons of the past. Or facts.

The world seems plainly out of rhythm.

Yet standing beneath the moon and the stars at night I feel a strange kinship, like Camus’ character in The Stranger, with the indifference of the universe to this all. It simply stares at us without pity, anger, sympathy or any feeling at all.

It just is.

And even though we might burn this planet to the ground so that it might one day flower again, it will always be.

That is a truth we cannot change.

I think that is what is behind this new small piece, 5″ by 7″on paper,  I recently finished.  It’s one the first things I’ve done in several weeks.

I think I will call it The Stranger.

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GC Myers- BetweenA man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

-Albert Camus

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These lines above are from an essay, Between Yes and No,  written by the French Nobel Prize-winning writer Albert Camus.  It basically states, in sometimes grim detail, his belief that art “exalts and denies simultaneously.”  In short, truth is generally somewhere in the middle, never absolutely in yes or no.  Yes or no is generally an oversimplified view.

While I may not fully understand all the subtleties of Camus’ essay, I do fully agree with the premise as I see it in my own simplified way.  I think that art communicates best when it contains both the yes and the no— those polar oppositions that create a tension to which we react on an emotional level.  For example, I think my best work has come when it contains opposing elements such as optimism tinged with with the darkness of fear or remorse.

Yes and no.

I guess it’s this thought that brought the title for the new piece ( 4″ by 4″ on paper)  at the top which I call Between. Simply put,  I see it as the Red Tree being torn between the nebulous  desire of the Moon’s promise set against the security of its earthly home, represented by the patchwork quilt-like look of the surrounding landscape.  Between the unknown and known.

Somewhere in between the yes and the no…

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