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Posts Tagged ‘Archaeology Series’

Funny how the mind works sometimes.

Lately I’ve been showing some paintings from a new series that features masses of faces. Last week I wrote that these groups of faces reminded me of the artifact from the subterranean layers from my Archaeology series. I thought that was a new observation as was the whole idea of this series.

But yesterday I was going through a bin of old work that I haven’t looked through in years and came across the piece shown above. It was done in the early days of 2008 when I was trying to break from a painting funk as I prepared for my annual show at the Principle Gallery that June. The Red Tree had been firmly entrenched as my trademark in the eight prior shows and I felt that it was boxing me in and that I was running out of gas.

It was becoming harder and harder to create the excitement in myself from the work that was needed to make it come alive.

So I turned to a task that a 5th grade art teacher had given me years before. He gave us large sheets of paper and told us to simply fill them, in pen and ink, with anything that came to mind. It could be simple shapes but he suggested making it a junkyard of objects. So I would start at the bottom of the page, drawing things piled on top of other things until the page was full.

It was an exercise that became a regular thing with me in adulthood as I would doodle this way in the margins of newspapers and in journals. Being blocked as I was back in early 2008, I pulled out a Sharpie and many sheets of watercolor paper. I spent a week or so just filling these sheets and at the end of that time the idea of the Archaeology series evolved from this work.

But since then I had completely forgot that I has did one of these sheets with simply drawn faces. It’s not particularly great in any way. It is rough and sloppy but I can see in it the beginnings of the Multitudes series. Around that time, I was drawing faces with a blunt Sharpie, trying to create an expressive face with as few lines and detail as possible. Here’s are two examples from that time taken from an old art business calendar that used as a sketchbook.

So, the idea that I am currently chasing is not new at all. It was forgotten, sitting in some far corner of my mind, biding its time until I was ready for it. Apparently that time has come.

Funny how the mind works sometimes.

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GC Myers The Journey Begins 2002I’ve always put my work out there on the internet, never getting upset when people use it for their own purposes so long as they aren’t claiming it as their own or selling it in any form.  After all, the whole purpose in doing this is to expose the work to as many people as possible.  Periodically I check to see where it ends up.  It’s interesting to see how several sites use my work on their masts, especially groups associated with archaeology who use my work from the Archaeology series.

The painting above, a piece from 2002 called A Journey Begins, was used back in November to illustrate the winning entry in the 2015 English Poetry Contest  at  Hong Kong Baptist University.  The poem is titled The Lie and was written by Zabrina Lo, a third year student in Language and Literature.  I was struck how well the two pieces of art blended, each fitting perfectly well with  and complementing the other.

Here is the poem The Lie from Zarina Lo:

Her seat has been empty for a year.
Still we sit
together. Not together. Around the table
we eat the tasteless water chestnut cakes
which I insist ordering.
I lie that the plum rain of China in early January
nourishes the jade-like crunchy corms –
the best time to savour this New Year’s dish.

But I am silenced
by the huge heap of sliced cakes that remain
almost untouched by everyone here
except me
and by my father’s empirical science of how autumn, not winter,
is the harvesting season.
Already gone.

But I can’t refrain from lingering on
the past winters when my mother, with her gnarled veiny hands,
insisted on making and filling my tiny childhood plate full with
her – not my – favourite water chestnut cakes.
She never knew that when I said I loved her cakes, I loved
her smile at the sight of me eating, savouring, appreciating her cake –
her world.
That sight gave her bland, unrecognized life the sweetest touch she’d ever known
in our home where water chestnuts never grew, cracked and bloomed
through the floors, walls, ceilings and
outside the window.
She never knew
that the sweetness I tasted was not from the cake
but her heart.

I imagine
that if I listened hard enough I would hear the crunch of water chestnuts
from the empty chair next to me
where she would be sitting and smiling as usual
as if New Year never came,
and that I could tell her honestly
the blissful flavour she thought I liked
was never there
and would never be there again.

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Geloven Onderweg CoverI just received a copy of a Dutch magazine, Geloven Onderweg, which loosely translates into English as Go Believe.  I mention this because it contains an image of one of my paintings, Archaeology: Rainbow’s End, as the illustration for one of its articles.  I was approached a few months back about the possibility of using the image in this magazine which is published by the Dominican order in the Netherlands.

The article is written by Jakob Van Wielink and is titled  Archeoloog wit een mild hart which translates as Archaeologist With a Mild Heart.  Beyond that, there is little I can tell you about the article or any of the other writing in this issue.  However, I can tell you that the  theme of this issue is outlined on the cover with Trust and the Future in Dutch under the image of a small boy confronting a Mark Rothko painting.  Interesting image…

They used my painting in a lovely manner with the image in the upper right hand corner of a two page spread with the image also used as a half-tone underlay.  It looks good and I am pleased to be able to have my work exposed in some small way in the Netherlands.

Geloven Onderweg Article 2014

 

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Strata smI’ve been working on a new group of pieces that incorporate the layered  elements, the subterranean strata,  from my Archaeology series. I decided to forego the field of artifacts that mark the Archaeology work, instead focusing on the color and  organic lines of the layers and the geometry of the boulders and stones between them.  These layers and forms take on an abstract sense that really appeals to me, especially when countered against the representational feel of the surface elements– the Red Tree and the sun/moon.

For me, the resulting image takes on a really contemplative feel.  Maybe it’s the idea of seeing  a cross-section of the immense changes that time brings, reminding me of our own relative smallness in the larger picture.  Any one of those layers, perhaps the thinnest ones,  could represent our time on this planet.  It takes away a lot of the hubris and bluster of man and reduces it to an organic line.

And in the end, life still goes on in the form of the Red Tree.  It may not be the human form that we hope for but it is life, nonetheless.

Life persists.

And even without us, the human race, that in itself is comforting.  That is,  if you believe that there is a unity and a force that connects us to all living things, great and small.  In that sense, we might still be around to look upon that sun/moon many, many millennia from this moment.  And I find that sort of comfort, both humbling and reassuring,  in this series of layers and color.

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