Posts Tagged ‘Alchemy’

GC Myers-- Ahead of the Curve sm

Ahead of the Curve– GC Myers

Just a reminder that this is the last week for my solo exhibit, Alchemy, which is hanging at the Kada Gallery in Erie until Monday, December 16th.

The show has been very well received and is one of which I am very proud, both in the content of the show and in the way it hangs together.  Gallery owner Kathy DeAngelo  has hung the show with her normal  great thought so that each piece shows at its very best in this particular space and in relation to the work around it.   This  care in arranging  the work gives the show the sense of continuity that I see running through the work in the studio which is what I hope others can see in the galleries.

So, if you’re in the Erie area this weekend, stop in at the Kada Gallery and take a stroll through the show.  It may just be the thing to calm those holiday jitters…

GC Myers- Maestro

Maestro — GC Myers

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gc-myers-internal-landscape-2012Well, my show, Alchemy, opened Saturday night at the Kada Gallery in Erie.  It was a good night filled with conversation with many folks, some longtime fans of the work and some new to it.  One of the highlights of the show was being able to exhibit my large and well documented  The Internal Landscape, show here,  at the Kada.

It is a piece that I am very proud of and it was good to be able to show it to the many folks who have followed my work in this region over the 17 or so years I have shown there.  It drew a lot of attention as it greeted show visitors from an opposing wall as they came into the gallery.  It contributed greatly to a very warm glow that filled the space.

I would like to send out a resounding Thank You to everyone who came out to the show on Saturday.  It is always inspiring to get the feedback that I receive from these shows and for that I am gratefully indebted.

Also, a heartfelt thank you to Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, owners of the Kada Gallery.  I have known Kathy since the early days of 1996 when she took me on as a relatively new artist, having only shown my work for a year or so before coming across through an act of serendipity.

Kathy, along with Joe, has been one  of the most, if not the most, vocal advocates of  my work over these many years, always encouraging me to continue further into my work.  By that,  I mean she always gave me the freedom to explore new directions and has never pressured me to stay at any one point on my artistic path or tried to direct the work in any way.  She and Joe have always been eager to see the new and different paths that I have explored over this time and that is a wonderfully liberating thing for any artist.  Thank you, Kathy and Joe, and thanks to their new young staffers, Morgan and Emily, whose youthful  spirit  and enthusiasm is wonderful to behold in the gallery.

Thanks, everyone involved,  for a great show.  Once again, it has been my pleasure.

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GC Myers- Forever and EverI am heading out to Erie later this morning for tonight’s opening reception for my show, Alchemy, at the Kada Gallery.  While I am always a bit nervous beefore any of these solo shows, the ride out to Erie generally has a calming effect.  It is a simple and quiet  ride through rural western New York on a highway that sometimes feels deserted, with hardly another car appearing at certain points.  The landscape is a mix of rolling hills that skirt the Allegheny National Forest before leveling off into a plain that runs to the Great Lakes, Lake Erie in this case.  It is sparsely populated and airily wide open.  I think this is an image of New York that would surprise many people. I know that it’s a ride that always has a calming effect for me.

The painting, Forever and Ever,  above is a small piece, 6″ by 6″ on paper, that is include in this show.  It is another take on the Baucis and Philemon myth that I have described here several times in the past.  I really like the vivid tones of the sky and the landscape here.  They seem to give it the other-worldly feel that I think fits the story of the fated couple.

Here’s a little music that  has the calm that I anticipate on my drive westward.  It’s  You Don’t Know What Love Is from two of my favorites, Elvis Costello and the late great Chet Baker.  I hope to see you tonight if you’re in the Erie area and can come out to the Kada Gallery.  Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, the owners of the Kada, are wonderful hosts.  See you tonight!


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“As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.”

—W.B. Yeats, Rosa Alchemica


GC Myers--Alchemy My show, Alchemy, opens tomorrow night at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.  I wrote last month about how the title, Alchemy, came about from my own  wonder at the mystery of the whole idea of how the simple act of smearing some paint on a surface could transform that bit of pigment and paper into something that is filled with emotion and meaning.  And not just for me.  It crossed the boundary of the self and reached out, sometimes communicating in a way that seemed totally beyond me.  The whole thing seemed like alchemy to me, as though there was some mysterious force transmuting these base materials– the paint and paper– into something pure and precious.

This thought has stuck with me for many years.  I often find myself stepping back from my easel or painting table, suddenly confused by the abstract nature of this whole process.  At these moments, the rational part of my mind takes hold for a moment and  questions the very validity of  the world I have created over the past two decades.  My rational self tells me that I am not  educated nor wise,  not brave or special in any way.  How can I, a base material myself, create anything that is more than myself?

But this moment of doubt always passes, pushed aside by my belief in the reality of the world I am seeing before me.  It may only be slashes of paint on a bit of paper or canvas from a simple and ordinary man but it represents something more.  It represents a faith in the human spirit, a belief in the uniqueness of each individual and the belief that we all essentially maintain many of the same  hopes and dreams for our lives– peace and calmness, for example.  It’s a belief that if I am pure and earnest in my attempts to create this world, it makes this work  valid and real, as filled with feeling  and meaning as any work from anyone.

There must be alchemy at play, somewhere in here…

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GC Myers- Behind the Curtain sm

Well, my show was delivered  to the Kada Gallery yesterday and owner Kathy DeAngelo, along with her  helping hands, is busy hanging and arranging the work on the gallery walls for  the Saturday evening opening.  There was the usual relief on the ride home, knowing that the greater part of my task in this show was done and the work was safely in place.  I feel very good about this show.  I think the work is strong and  mature in its development and has the consistency that I so desire for my work,  each piece fitting neatly into the overall context of this show.

One of the paintings that I chose for this show is shown above and is titled Behind the Curtain,  a 12″ by 36″ canvas.  This is a very simple, elemental painting in its design, which plays to the strength of this piece.  It is meant to be spare in its tone, a clear evocation of stillness and contemplation that is carried out via blocks of color, strong underlying texture and open space within the composition.

The pale blocks of color which make up the sky create a curtain-like effect here from which I pulled the title.  The chaotic swirls and lines of the underlying gesso surface seem to form a separate  world of motion and energy that is only slightly hidden behind this curtain of sky, as though it were of a different dimension in time and space that is both unattainable yet always within reach.  Perhaps the gears of the universe turning while we stumble along, unaware. of the great power lurking so near .

The sun here is the mysterious part, a green blue sphere that appears more as a lush Earth-like planet than a burning sun.  For me, it makes this piece feel very introspective, like the Red Tree is outside itself here,  looking back on planet Earth.   Regardless if  this is the case, this painting feels quiet and questioning, focused on bigger themes of being.

At least that’s how I see it…

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Fred at restI am on the road today, delivering the work to the Kada Gallery for my show, Alchemy,  which is opening this coming  Saturday.  While it’s always a relief to deliver a show and be out from under the weight of a deadline, today is a bittersweet trip for me.  You see, today is the day that Fred leaves for his new home.  I didn’t want to be there when he goes so I said my goodbyes before I hit the road this morning and when I return, the studio will be strangely empty without him there.

Young Fred

Young Fred

I wrote about Fred here back in September, a few weeks after we had found him nearly dead in a ditch, barely a few weeks old.  He has prospered beyond our hopes and is now healthy, strong and happy.  Thanks to the carpenters and other workmen who’ve been in the studio for a few weeks now, he is comfortable and outgoing with all sorts of people.  Our vet is amazed at how socialized he seems to be.

But now he moves on to life to be a companion to Lucky,  my brother-in-law’s exceptionally sweet cat.  They have had several meetings to get acquainted and Fred is fascinated by the much larger Lucky, following her constantly as he attempts to get her to play with him.  Lucky is very tolerant of the energetic little guy.  Everything points to them being ideal companions.

I know I will miss the little guy.  I hope he remembers me when he comes back to visit in the future.  Here’s one of my favorite songs from Harry Nilsson, circa 1974 and fittingly from his Pussy Cats album,  that expresses that very sentiment.

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GC Myers-- Ahead of the Curve smThis new painting, titled Ahead of the Curve, is a 20″ by 24″ canvas headed in the next few days out to Erie for inclusion in Alchemy, my solo exhibit opening a week from today at the Kada Gallery.  This was one of those paintings that comes quickly at first then is sat aside for quite a long time before I go back at it.  In some of these pieces, it’s because I just don’t see a way forward in it and don’t want to act before I have some inner direction, some small sense  of destination to follow so that the lifeforce I see in it isn’t squandered.

On others,  I reach a point where I see all sorts of possibilities in moving forward and can’t decide which way to move.  I become paralyzed.  Such was the case with this painting.  I built this from the bottom, as I often do, and had allowed the multi-colored mound of fields to grow.  I loved the color and curve of it and the way the smaller green mound jutted upward into the blank canvas.  I thought it was beautiful at that point, with no trees or sky or sun — just a mound with a forked road against a white surface.

So it sat for a few months and I would look at it every day, one day seeing it juxtaposed against a deep and receding field.  The next time I looked I saw I saw it looking down on mountain tops.  But it was the curve of the mound that spoke to me and directed me.  I wanted to create some depth, to move the viewer past the mound and into the scene itself but not so deep that the mound and the Red Tree that would adorn it would be just looked past.

I began to see a slightly lighter curved field with a road continuing through it, creating a closer  curved horizon. The greenish trees on the curved horizon appeared like the  hands on a clock to me, somehow representing the passage of time and I saw a sun or moon on that horizon so that the tree would be above it, as though it were ahead of the sun’s advance.  The Red Tree here is not reactive, bowing to the circumstances the world puts before it.  No, it is proactive, creating its own stance and its own reaction from the world.    It is indeed ahead of the curve.

I think that’s what this is all about, the idea of being proactive in carrying out and maintaining one’s own vision of their world.  Trusting that the sometimes invisible things that they see can be made visible to others.   That might be the definition of a visionary or a fool.  That’s the thing about being ahead of the curve– you may not be around to see which is true.

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-GC Myers -Dark Work  ca 2002I am pretty excited to include a small group of older paintings in my upcoming show, Alchemy, which opens November 16th at the Kada Gallery.  The group consists of four paintings from 2002, all painted in darker tones and without  the Red Tree that inhabits so much of my other work.  This work, which is often called my “dark work,” was painted in the months of 9/11 and reflected the state of mind of myself and most of our nation at that point, seeming less optimistic  and more foreboding in the context of the time.  To me this felt like important work, at least on a personal level, in that I knew that I was completely emotionally invested in each piece.  As much as I can say about anything I’ve painted, this was work that I felt had to be done.

This body of work sold well but there was a general cooling of the art market  in the aftermath of 9/11 which left me with several of these pieces that came back and have stayed with me in the studio for the past decade.  They have remained favorites of mine through this time, always surprising me with their solidness and presence when I pull them out.   In my opinion, they have aged well and time has washed away a bit of that time  in which they were created.  They have now taken on a much different feel for me.  I don’t get that sense of foreboding from them anymore.  If anything, there is a guarded optimism in this work, the distant glows over their horizons seeming more pronounced than I remember at the time.

While all that has changed is the context of time, I now see them as meditative and serene.  I will be interested to see how this work strikes viewers at this show.

The pieces are show individually below, the first being  Desideratum,  11″ by 15″ on paper:

GC Myers- Desideratum smThe piece below is Night Karma which is 16″ by 20″ on paper.

992-091 Night Karma smNext is Dark Cadence which is 9″ by 19″ on wood panel:

995-323 Dark Cadence sm

And finally, here is Soft Dream of Night which is 14″ by 24″ on paper.  I wrote about this piece here several weeks ago.

995-324  Soft Dream of Night sm

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GC Myers- Deep Focus sm

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.



This is another new painting that is headed to the Kada Gallery for  Alchemy, my solo show that opens there on November 16.   This piece, 18″ by 18″ on canvas, is titled Deep Focus.  This was one of those pieces that just seemed to fall out with very little inner wrangling or consternation.  Once I started, it was off and running with what seemed very little assistance from me.

It was immediately clear that this painting was going to be about focus, about looking deeper and deeper into the canvas. Built from the bottom, each layer pushed the eye further inward.  About halfway into this I began to think of the title for this as being AutoFocus, just for the ease with which it was emerging.  But I finally opted for Deep Focus because of the depth I was seeing in  the picture and the way everything seemed to gravitate toward the central point of the sun that is peeking over the distant hill.

This piece seems to have a very meditative quality, a placid feeling that goes well with the ease of the piece.  Or at least,  the ease that I felt in its creation.  Sitting here now, taking it in, its construction seems simple, almost naive. Yet there is a feeling of opulence that I think comes from the colors and curves of the landscape that sheds this naivete and gives it a feeling of deeper knowledge.  or a way to deeper knowledge.  Far from naive.

Years ago, I had a  hard time trusting the validity of pieces that fell so easily from my hand, believing that  struggle must be part of making a painting come alive.  I was almost embarrassed by the ease with which some pieces came.  But over time, I have come to believe that it is this effortless work that is the goal, the work that is true and has the authenticity that I seek.  This piece is a testament to the trust in my intuition that has come with time.

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GC Myers--Alchemy

“This is why alchemy exists,” the boy said. “So that everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then want to be better than he was in his former life. Lead will play its role until the world has no further need for lead; and then lead will have to turn itself into gold.

That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

— Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


I am currently getting ready for my final solo show of the year, this one at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA, opening November 16th.  I am calling this show Alchemy, from the ancient and mysterious practice ( I use the word practice to describe it because I am not sure how to categorize it as it is not really a science as we know it) that is defined by its stated goals of turning base metals into gold or silver and creating an elixir that would give man’s life great longevity, possibly immortality.  Most of  us  likely think of it in terms of some wild-eyed scientist trying to find a way to transform lead into gold.

But at the heart of alchemy is the simple concept of the transformation of something ordinary into something more than it initially appears to be.  That really strikes home for me.  I have often written of  sometimes feeling surprised when I finish a piece, as though the end result, the sum of my painting, is often far more than what I have to personally offer in terms of talent or knowledge.  Like there is a force beyond me that is arranging these simple elements of this work into something that transcends the ordinariness of the subject or materials or the creator.  This feeling has remained a mystery to me for almost twenty years, driving me to write here in hopes of stumbling across words that would adequately describe this transformation of simple paint and paper into something that I sometimes barely recognize as being my own creation, so marked is the difference between the truth of the resulting work and my own truth.

Even as I write this, I can see that my words are inadequate to describe this vaporous process.  So I will stop here but will  attempt to better capture the mystery of this in the next several weeks in this blog.

The painting at the top is the title piece, Alchemy,  for the upcoming show.  It is 18″ by 48″ on canvas.  I wanted the painting that carried this title to have the things that I think make up this curious transformation– simplicity and symmetry and depth.  I think this painting captures these elements and even as I painted it, it started a transformation that continually surprised me.  I sit now  writing this and this painting sits on an easel in my studio and I am still surprised, even after all of these years, at what has emerged.

It must be alchemy…

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