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Posts Tagged ‘Alexandria VA’

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“True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written, in writing what deserves to be read, and in so living as to make the world happier and better for our living in it.”

― Pliny the Elder

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A couple of days ago I showed a painting in progress, at a point where I believe it had taken on its life force. Even though it was far from complete, it was already exuding some sort of energy.

I can’t speak for other artists but for me, that’s always a great feeling. It energizes the process, makes me eager to see it through, to discover what its final phase will reveal. There’s a sense of gliding. It feels easy and smooth with little resistance, nothing to stop you from soaring forward.

Believe me when I say this is not normally the case. No, it’s not always gliding through a cool sky. Sometimes the process is a slow trudging march forward in the pouring rain. There are multiple periods in the process where  everything goes flat and dull, including my own enthusiasm for continuing, and there seems to be no satisfying end in sight.

But the strange thing is that often both of these paths– the soaring as well as the slogging– come to the same final point. Both often result in a piece that speaks on its own, that has its own life, its own energy.

They just get there via different routes.

The beauty in both ways is that both are energizing for me. The easy way, such as this painting followed, excites me and inspires me, throwing me instantly into my next work.

It’s joyful.

The slog, on the other hand, reinforces me. It builds the confidence that I can go deep within myself and get past the next obstacle I face. To just keep moving ahead.

It’s satisfying.

This piece was, as I said, easy. It excited me and inspired me from its very beginning. There’s a cleanness in its energy, its colors and forms clear and easily read. Graceful. The inspiration I felt in painting it hangs to it still. As does its joyful feeling.

It’s what I hope for in all my work.

I call this piece In Gaudium Mundi.

The joy in the world.

It’s an 18″ by 36″ canvas that will be part of my Social Distancing show at the Principle Gallery that opens in June at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

Have a great day.

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When the gates swing wide on the other side
Just beyond the sunset sea
There’ll be room to spare as we enter there
Room for you and room for me
For the gates are wide on the other side
Where the flowers ever bloom
On the right hand on the left hand
Fifty miles of elbow room

50 Miles of Elbow Room, Herbert Buffum

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I have always longed for elbow room.

Huge arching domes of clear air above.

Wide open spaces for the eye to search.

Soundless vistas with not a soul to be seen.

The elbow room I long for is not that described in the lyrics of the 1930 gospel song, 50 Miles of Elbow Room, from songwriter Herbert Buffum. His version of elbow room is a placid paradise in the hereafter

Ideally, I don’t have to die to find my sought after elbow room. Of course, finding such a place might entail a little imagination along with a willingness to accept that this elbow room most likely will be located inside oneself.

Maybe that’s what I am trying to uncover with my work.

Elbow room. At least, my own little bits of elbow room.

The painting at the top is such a piece. It’s part of my aptly titled show, Social Distancing, that is still planned to open on June 5 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. There is some doubt as to whether there will be an actual physical opening reception but there will be a show hung to be viewed so long there is– wait for it– social distancing.

This painting is titled Elbow Room, of course. It’s a return of sorts to my earlier work of the early and mid 2000’s, painted in the transparent inks I favor on paper. In a way, painting it felt like it was something inherent. Built in. Natural, like coming home, like a circle being completed.

For me, this is the hardest work to judge. It’s like looking at old family photos. You don’t look at the faces and apprise them for attractiveness or ugliness. You just see them for what you know them to be, for what they mean to you. How the outside world sees them is not important.

And this certainly feels like a family photo for me.

So, on this Sunday morning, let’s hear a bit of that song, 50 Miles of Elbow Room. I couldn’t find the original from Vaughan Happy Two. The two most significant versions are a gospel version from the Rev. F.W. McGee in 1933 and a traditional folk version from the Carter Family in 1942. The song I am playing today owes its influence to the Carter Family. It’s performed by a favorite of mine, Gillian Welch.

Have a good Sunday. Hope you find some elbow room for yourself, if that’s what you want.

 

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I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep ;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap :
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Garden of Proserpine

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This is the last painting I finished from the group of work that is coming with me on my trip to Alexandria tomorrow, when I will be at the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk. which begins at 1 PM. I call this painting, which is an 8″ by 24″ canvas, At the End of Time.

This was a trying painting for me. It just never felt right through the whole process and at several points I was ready to trash it. But there was something in it that kept me at it, something that wouldn’t let me just black it out and build anew. It wasn’t until it was 99% complete that it suddenly transformed into a living, breathing piece with its own vitality.

I went from hating this piece to a point where I haven’t been able to look away from it for the last few days.

It seems to have a message and a sense of weary finality. The words of Swinburnes The Garden of Prosperine, an excerpt of which is shown above, mesh beautifully with this image. At least, as I see it.

I am not going to fully describe how I see this now. I don’t want to taint your own impression of this painting, if I haven’t already done so by now.

Maybe if you come to the Gallery Talk tomorrow and ask me, I will tell you the personal meaning behind some of the elements in this piece. We’ll see.

But please feel free to come to the Gallery Talk tomorrow, Saturday, September 21, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It starts at 1 PM and after about an hour which includes some talking, assorted questions and answers, a few laughs, a couple of feats of strength, a brief operatic solo and a little soft shoe, I will be giving away some stuff, including the painting Light Emanation. Plus there are some what you might call neat parting gifts and there may or may not be an additional painting awarded.

You will have to come to find out. I am not saying for sure.

Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Seriously, hope you can make it. I advise you to get there early to beat the crowd, claim a seat and enter the drawing. We can fill the time with a little pre-Talk chat, if you like.

 

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Well, this was a tough decision.

I finally chose the painting to be given away at my Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery this coming Saturday. It’s Light Emanation, a 16″ by 20″ painting on canvas that has plenty of real meaning for me, always making me stop to consider it when I come across it. It’s a strong and distinct piece, one that is a deserving choice.

I can tell because it hurts to let it go.

Hope you’ll come out to the Principle Gallery this Saturday, September 21, for your chance to win this painting. The Talk begins at 1 PM. I suggest getting there a  little early to secure your seat and get signed in to win. I want to add that there is an additional surprise for this Talk that I will not be disclosing here on the blog. You will have to come to see it but I will say that it is well worth coming for. So, try to make it if you can!

Below is the blog entry I wrote about Light Emanation a few years back:

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We are not separated from spirit, we are in it.

Plotinus

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I call this new painting, a 20″ by 16″ canvas,  Light Emanation.   Emanation is a word that is defined in one sense as an abstract but perceptible thing that issues or originates from a source.  It’s a term that the 3rd century philosopher Plotinus used to describe the manner in which all matter is descended from the One, the transcendent and formless force that has always been and will always be.  We see its emanation– its reflection– in things we associate with terms such as Good and Beauty.

I can’t fully explain the concept of Plotinus’ philosophy here.  I honestly don’t fully understand it myself.

But  the idea that we are all somehow comprised and descended from light has long been an idea that has lived within me.  We react to light and the colors that come from it in ways that go beyond this world, in ways that somehow link us to something we feel is greater than ourselves.  Perhaps the One to which Plotinus alludes.

As it is with so many things, I don’t know for sure.  I only know that those rare moments in my life that have felt transcendent have always been associated with a mysterious quality of light, one that  satisfies and comforts me in a way in which I didn’t even realize I was in need.

I see that feeling of oneness with the light  in this painting.  It has a mysterious comfort in it that reminds me of my own moments.

And that is all I ask of it…

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GC Myers-Guided By BeautyOne of those days that start out on the wrong foot, sleeping late on what promises to be a hectic, busy day when I want to get up early. Maybe I needed the extra hour or so of sleep. I don’t know except that it didn’t refresh me in any way and I find myself instantly filled with the anxiety that has been plaguing me in recent days. It’s that teeth grinding, headache inducing kind of tension that ends up in a knotty sharp edged ball in the gut.

It brings me quicker to frustration and anger at the slightest perceived provocation. I know it’s this way and I fight it but it’s a powerful beast, this ugly anxiousness. Please excuse me if you see me on the road today and for some unknown reason I appear to be swearing loudly and making obscene gestures.

This sounds more like a diary entry than a blog post. Sorry. I don’t want to bore you with my own particular brand of craziness. I have mine and many of you, no doubt, have your own. And these are certainly times that test our ability to remain on an even keel, even for the most sturdy willed of us.

My work helps me. It draws me into it and stills my mind. Or maybe it activates parts of it that have been bitch-slapped into submission by my anxiety? I don’t know for sure. I find that the times when I am most anxious occur when I have a  inner desperate need to express myself and too many things pulling at me, keeping me from doing so.

That sure is how it feels in this instance.

But time has taught me this will pass if I hold on, if I visualize a calmer time ahead that I can set as a point on my horizon to navigate towards.

Maybe that’s the purpose of this new painting, Guided By Beauty. Maybe it’s that point, that destination on the horizon.

It does calm me greatly.

And I needed that now.

This piece is heading to the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk this coming Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM. I will be announcing the painting that will be given away at the Talk tomorrow so come back please. It’s gonna be a peach! Plus, as always, there will be plenty of other surprises. So, if you are so inclined, make a point of getting to the Principle Gallery next Saturday.

My choice for this Sunday morning music is a song from one of my favorites, Neko Case. It’s Deep Red Bells.

Have a good Sunday and if you see me on the highway, please forgive me.

 

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GC Myers- Mantra 9

Going to keep this short and concise. My show Red Tree 20: New Growth opens this evening at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The reception begins at 6:30 and runs until 9 PM.

If you can make it, please make sure to take a few minutes to speak with me or at least say hello. This part of the openings means a lot to me so if I look busy, catch my eye or speak with someone from the gallery and I will make sure I get to you. It’s my pleasure.

Hope to see you there!

GC Myers- Fire and Ice

GC Myers- To Have and To Hold

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If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.

-Emile Zola

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The show is hung in the gallery. I am relieved and anxious, same as always. It’s been twenty years of doing this, of sweating out–or maybe it’s bleeding out –work for my annual show at the Principle Gallery. It’s always hard but I don’t want to imply that it’s harder than any other job. Every job, every career has its good and bad parts.  You can only hope that the good parts far outweigh the bad.

I think my job does, most times.

I was asked this past week in an interview for a regional magazine how and why I came to be an artist. I think I said that I just wanted to have my voice heard in this life. I wish I had added that I wanted to do all I can to put out work that will hopefully live beyond the limitations of my own worldly life, as well. Just so someone somewhere someday will know that I existed and thought and felt. That I laughed and cried.

That I had a voice that needed to be heard at times.

Maybe that’s what Zola meant by living out loud– needing to be heard.

These kind of thoughts always populate my mind when my shows roll around because in so many ways, I feel exposed and vulnerable on those walls. Defenseless against all judgement and criticism.

But after so many shows, I am almost numb to these fears and doubts. I know my own voice now and trust that it is real. It’s all I have to offer of value and it is that that allows me to live out loud. Like Georgia O’Keeffe said: I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free. 

That said, I think this is a very strong group of work, one that carries my voice well enough to remind me that I truly exist.

Hope you can make it to the show. Whether you can or can’t, below is a slideshow preview of the show.

There is also a very nice article and interview at PrincipleArtTalk, the blog of the Principle Gallery, about this show and some of the new work. You can go to that article by clicking here.
Celebrating 20 Years of the Red Tree

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