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Posts Tagged ‘Archaeology’



“The word was born in the blood, grew in the dark body, beating, and took flight through the lips and the mouth. Farther away and nearer still, still it came from dead fathers and from wondering races, from lands which had turned to stone, lands weary of their poor tribes, for when grief took to the roads the people set out and arrived and married new land and water to grow their words again. And so this is the inheritance; this is the wavelength which connects us with dead men and the dawning of new beings not yet come to light.”

― Pablo Neruda



Found myself awake early this morning. So many things racing through my head that it was hard to focus on trying to sleep. Big things and little things- a gnawing worry for this country and tiny nagging reminders of things that need to be done soon. All things that couldn’t be resolved at 2 AM in the woods where I live.

Then it struck me that it was around this time of the morning that my mom died 25 years ago on this very date.

Geez, 25 years come and gone. And there I was, in bed thinking of her death. 

I tried to dredge up memories of her, hoping that it would drown out the other things in the background of my mind, all screaming for attention or at least equal air time. Some memories came easily. Those are the ingrained ones that have become part of the synapses.

But I tried to dig deeper and there were only shadows of memories. Not real recollection. Maybe not even real. I don’t know for sure and most likely never will.

25 years has a way of changing things in your mind.

So, I tried focusing on the traits that I may have inherited from her, some good and some bad. Some neither. They just are what they are.

Some made me laugh. Some made me cry.

Laughter and tears. Quite the inheritance.

There are certainly worse things in this world.

It made me think in bed of the painting above that I recently took out to the West End Gallery. Called From Whence I Came, it’s part of my Archaeology series from back in 2008. I think this piece was only shown once in a gallery before it came back to me. For some unknown reason, it found its way to the back of a closet, where it has been residing for the past 12 years. I pulled it out a few weeks back and it was like seeing it for the first time again. 

It made me think of all the choices and serendipity that it took for me to arrive at this place in the world. It’s the same for all of us. We’re all products of the decisions and events that took place throughout the history of man on this planet. One person succumbing to a virus instead of surviving it a thousand years ago and our whole history as a person would be different. 

We’re all the spearpoints, the leading edges, the very top of the pyramids of all that came before us. We were brought to this point by the bones and blood of thousands of lives before us.

All their strength. All their vulnerability.

I don’t know where I want this to go. Just thinking out loud, I guess, between the laughter and the tears.

Gotta go. Have a good day, folks.

 

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Yesterday, I delivered the work for my Icons & Exiles show to the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield, NY. I have to admit that the gallery isn’t anything like the image of it I imagined when I was approached a couple of years ago to do this exhibit. But seeing the space and the library again put any doubts I had to rest. What a great gallery space! And the library is such a beautiful building! Both the gallery and the library are gems.

I am actually excited to see this group of work in this space.

The work for this show primarily consists of work from my early Exiles series along with my more recent Icons series. There is also a smaller group from my 2006 Outlaws series along with a variety of pieces that don’t fit into any series. They are just favorites of mine, personal paintings that I think are pretty interesting.

There are also two pieces from my Archaeology series including the painting shown at the top, Archaeology: A New History. This painting hasn’t been shown in many years and is, at 36″ by 48″, the largest painting of this series. It is one of my favorites from this series so I am pleased to have it back out in public view as part of this show.

I think this will be an interesting show, one that has a more narrative feel than my typical shows. There are many stories being told in these paintings.

I know that Westfield is a bit out of the way for many folks. For my friends in Erie, where my work has shown at the Kada Gallery there for the past 24 years, it is a 30 mile trek and for those in my home area it’s a few hours drive. But it takes you by lovely Lake Chautauqua and its famous institute and Westfield itself is a peach of a town. Hopefully, this show will make the trip worthwhile.

So, if you find yourself out around Lake Chautauqua or,over a short distance, closer to Lake Erie this Friday, August 23, between 7 and 9 PM, please stop in and take a look at the Icons & Exiles show at the Octagon Library at the historic Patterson Library.

I’ll be glad to tell you some stories.

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Archaeology: UnburdenedIn these current strange days, I am not quite sure how I feel about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.  I think I’m okay with it.  After all, I’ve always though of him as much a writer/poet as a musician. His lyrics have been winding around the world for fifty some years and it’s hard to find any musician just about anywhere who hasn’t been influenced by his words, his music and his social consciousness.

I was trying to pick a song from Dylan for this Sunday’s musical selection and realized what an impossible task it is.  There is just such a vast and varied body of work, spanning so much time and covering so many phases in his career.  You could just play his old folk stuff from before 1965 and you might think that was a whole career.

So today I thought I would play two of my favorites from two distinct periods of Dylan’s career.  One is the early and fun Subterranean Homesick Blues with its well known video while the other is a mid-1990’s Love Sick.  Just plain good stuff from the now Nobel Prize  winning artist and writer.

Enjoy and have a good Sunday…

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GC Myers- Archaeology- The Golden Age Beyond smThe past slips from our grasp. It leaves us only scattered things. The bond that united them eludes us. Our imagination usually fills in the void by making use of preconceived theories…Archaeology, then, does not supply us with certitudes, but rather with vague hypotheses. And in the shade of these hypotheses some artists are content to dream, considering them less as scientific facts than as sources of inspiration.

-Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music in the Form – Six Lessons

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This is a new Archaeology painting that is included in Part of the Pattern, my solo show at the Principle Gallery which opens Friday June 3.  It is titled Archaeology: The Golden Age Beyond and is an 18″ by 24″ canvas.  It is the first new true Archaeology piece that I’ve done in several years and this piece really seems to connect with the original group of this work for me in its narrative element and dramatic effect.

I absolutely love the thought that the great composer Igor Stravinsky shares above.  It seems to fit so well with what I was thinking when I was working on this particular Archaeology painting.  Each bit of detritus seems separate and unconnected with the next yet my mind was always trying to see what the hidden connection between them might be or how they came together in a larger narrative.

It’s that interesting area between what is fact and what is its truth.  We may determine fact but we can’t always know context and connection.  An item may not hold the same meaning in every circumstance.

But we can imagine and create a narrative that seems to make sense of fact and, in many cases, may come close to the reality.

Perhaps archaeology is as much an art form as it is a science.  Or an artist is sometimes a sort of archaeologist.

Hmm, let me think about that.

Anyway, I hope you’ll come out to the Principle Gallery on Friday evening.  The opening reception begins at 6:30 PM at the Alexandria gallery on historic King Street. I look forward to seeing you there.

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ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN TO GET IN ON YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THIS PAINTING!

Enraptured” is a 30″ by 40″ Painting valued at $5000

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GC Myers-Archaeology- Rooted in the Past smOne of the interesting aspects of doing what I do is seeing where the images eventually finds their way. They have ended up in American Embassies in several countries, in magazines and on book covers here and abroad as well as on several CD covers.  One was even included in a recent history text book.  They have found their way to most corners of the globe, making them much more well traveled than their maker.  And in 2016 a couple of images from my Archaeology and Strata series will be part of the annual calendar for the Spanish Society of Soil Science

GC Myers- On the Shoulders of Time smIt’s gratifying for me to see the work spread out as it has.  You hope, as an artist, that your work has a wider appeal, that there is some common denominator in it that speaks across geographic and cultural boundaries.  You never know when you are in front of the easel if your work will be anything more than a blob of pigment on a bit of canvas destined for the trash or will take on a life of its own and move on.  So to see it move around the globe in some small way is a form of validation for the work, making the next crisis of confidence easier to fight through.  And that is no small thing.

Being Sunday it’s time for a little music and I thought I would play a song that kind of jibes with the soil theme of the work here.  It’s one of my favorite songs to sing along with from one of my all-time favorites, John Prine.  It’s called Please Don’t Bury Me and it’s about as upbeat a song on the subject of dying as you’ll ever hear.  Give a listen (and sing along if you know the words!) and have a great Sunday!

 

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GC Myers- Archaeology-Rainbows EndThe thing I am most aware of is my limits. And this is natural; for I never, or almost never, occupy the middle of my cage; my whole being surges toward the bars.

–Andre Gide

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I chose this week’s  quote from the late French author Andre Gide, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, because as an artist I find myself sometimes wondering about my limits, questioning whether I am pushing myself enough into new territory.  Gide uses a cage in his metaphor with his limitations being the bars that keep him from moving forward.  He is not content to simply accept these limits sitting contentedly in the center of his cage. No, he is always pushing and pulling at the bars, seeking to get past them.

In the past, I have expressed this same desire to press past my limits with a metaphor where the artist climbs ever upward until they come to a plateau where they are comfortable and safe.  It is a place where they could easily live out the remainder of their days with little worry, living an easy life by retelling stories that made up the journey up to this point.  Many might not even notice there is still a mountain hovering above them to climb, if they just dare leave the comfort of the easy plateau.

Gide’s cage is my plateau and while he is trying to break through his bars, I find myself still questioning if I have the nerve to start climbing.  Oh, there are first steps, tentative meanders up the path but only far enough that I am within sight and  can return easily to my safe haven on the plateau.

When does the real trek upward begin?  When does one begin to thrash at their bars?

Where are you in your own cage?

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I used a painting from several years,  Archaeology: Rainbow’s End, to illustrate this post.  For one thing, I just like this image.  But more importantly, looking at it seemed to remind me that one’s creative past is often buried and gone from sight.  Or at least, should be if one is going to continue growing.  Like the tree in the painting, you grow from that past existence  being nourished by it.  But you don’t live only in that past.  You must move upward like the Red Tree in this painting to find clear air.

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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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Archaeology: All We Leave Behind

Archaeology: All We Leave Behind

As the title suggests, there are a few paintings from my Strata and Archaeology series in the Layers show that opens Friday at the West End Gallery.  The piece above, Archaeology: All We Leave Behind, is a 12″ by 24″ canvas is the latest and perhaps last entry in the Archaeology series.

I am considering retiring this series that started back in 2008 although I can’t say I won’t revisit it at some distant point in the future.  It has been a series of paintings that has been among my favorites, both in painting and in delving deeper into them, as well as being important to my development as an artist.  When I first started the series, it came at point when I was in need of inspiration and was questioning my future as an artist.  These paintings gave me footing, a firm base to rest on while I gathered what I needed to move on.

Looking at these pieces, I am almost always surprised when I get to inspect the underground artifacts.  So many of the items  were painted  without any forethought or afterthought so once they were done and I had moved on to the next item in the debris field, they sometimes escaped my notice of their singularity.  They just became part of a larger pattern of forms and color.  But going back and looking at the items later gives me little surprises that sometimes make me smile and sometimes scratch my head, wondering what the hell some not quite recognizable thing is or what I might have meant by its inclusion.

But all things must come to an end, which is actually the theme of this series.  And this piece, which took over a year to complete as I worked on it a bit at a time,  seems like a fitting end.  And if it does end up being the last in its line, what better place to show it than where my little journey as a painter began back in 1995, the West End Gallery.

Here’s another Archaeology piece in the show, Archaeology: Formed in the Past,  one from a few years back that has a favorite of mine from the minute it was completed:

Archaeology: Formed in the Past

Archaeology: Formed in the Past

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GC Myers- Time TravelerI finished this new painting, 18″ by 26″  on paper, a few days ago and have been regularly taking it in as it sits in my studio, waiting to be framed for my upcoming show, Traveler, at the Principle Gallery.  I think I am calling this piece Time Traveler but it’s still up in the air as I ponder it for a few more days.

It’s one of a few pieces that will be in this show that are from the Strata series, which are similar to my Archaeology pieces but more focused on the patterns and colors of the underground layers and boulders rather than on artifacts.  I like this mix of the straight representation of the Red Tree in the top half  set against the organic and almost abstract forms of the lower half, giving it a striking visual contrast while still maintaining  harmony.

I normally don’t like to dwell on technique here but  this is also a little technically different from my typical work.  I normally work in one of two ways–in a  reductive manner, where the paint is applied very wet, in puddles,  then removed leaving a transparent and luminous surface or in a more traditional additive manner in which paint is applied in layers building from dark to light.  Usually one one process is used in a piece but the Strata series allows me to easily mix the methods which adds to the visual contrast between the upper and lowers segments.

As I continue to consider this piece, I thought I would play a song this Sunday morning that mentions time.  I thought I would play Time Is On My Side which was a big hit for the Rolling Stones in 1964.  I always assumed it was written by Jagger and Richards but it was actually a cover.  The song was written my Jerry Ragavoy under the pseudonym Norman Meade.  It was first recorded by jazz trombonist Kai Winding in 1963 with the only lyrics being Time is on my side sung by back-up singers Dionne Warwick and Cissy Houston.  It’s an interesting version that I am including below but I really wanted to focus on the version from the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, which was released around the same time as the Stones’ version.  It has the added lyrics that most of us know and is just a dynamite performance.

Enjoy and have a great Sunday!

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Carol Eyerman-  A Surreal Study of Latex Masks 1950There is something about a mask that captures the imagination.  Hiding our true selves behind a shield often allows us to act in ways that are often in direct opposition to who we really are or to, at least for a short time, take on a persona we would never dare exhibit as our own.  I think we all often wear masks of a sort in our dealings with people, showing only the face we choose to show at any given moment.  We seldom fully take off our masks and show our full and true self.  I think that is a reason I often feature masks in the artifacts of my Archaeology series.

So when I came across this photo it  immediately caught my attention.  It is a wonderful abstraction of latex masks hanging from lines as they dry.  I can find no story behind this 1950 photo or even much about the photographer,  Carol Eyerman , who died in 1996 at the age of 85 and was a Life and Sunset magazine photographer best known for landscape photos.  To me, it is either a shop that makes masks for Halloween or theatrical or movie productions.  I’m thinking Halloween just by the sheer number.

But beyond the facts behind the photo, it’s a terrific image with the looping lines that hold the gruesome faces and  bloodied hands rising up and away.  Like a factory of pain and torture, an image torn from a nightmare. Just a great shot.

Cherry and Richard Kearton - Wildlife Photography Pioneers 1900As an aside, while I was jumping around online trying to find more about Carol Eyerman, I came across this photo of a man standing on another man’s shoulders while taking a photo on a camera atop an extraordinarily tall tripod.  It was such a neat image that I had to stop to discover that the two men were Cherry and Richard Kearton who were brothers and pioneers in wildlife photography.  This photo was taken in 1900.  I always seem to find the most interesting things while searching for other things, as thought the initial search is actually only a starting point.  In this case, it may not be as interesting as the masks but it’s a great image in itself.

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