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GC Myers- Eureka Moment

Eureka Moment“– Now at the West End Gallery



It is not easy to convey, unless one has experienced it, the dramatic feeling of sudden enlightenment that floods the mind when the right idea finally clicks into place. One immediately sees how many previously puzzling facts are neatly explained by the new hypothesis. One could kick oneself for not having the idea earlier, it now seems so obvious. Yet before, everything was in a fog.

― Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit



As a pioneering scientist best known for revealing the double-helix structure of DNA, I guess Francis Crick knows something about Eureka moments.

For those of you who don’t know, Eureka is from the Greek and means “I have found it.” Archimedes, the famed 3rd Century BC scholar, is believed to be the first to have used the term, having ran through the streets naked yelling Eureka! after having a sudden scientific revelation while in his bath. Any sudden discovery, usually of knowledge or enlightenment, has come to be known as a Eureka moment. Goldminers during the California Gold Rush would yell Eureka! when discovering a rich vein of gold and it remains the state’s official motto.

It’s a pretty dramatic thing, this burst of sudden revelation. It can change perceptions of things in a flash and everything surrounding it falls immediately into place. It’s kind of like you’ve been struggling to look at one of those Magic Eye images (autostereograms) that appears as just a mass of dots until something clicks in, allowing your mind to see the image hidden among the dots.

A pattern that was hidden becomes apparent and obvious. And once you see it, it can’t be unseen.

Not counting Magic Eye paintings, I don’t know how many times a person experiences such Eureka moments in their life or if it even occurs for everyone.

I am relatively sure I have had one such moment. Four? Well. maybe two. Or more likely 1 1/2. I don’t know which probably means it wasn’t a real Eureka moment. But I did have that one and if that is the only one I ever have, I am okay with that though I will always seek and hope for another.

That’s the basis for the new painting at the top, Eureka Moment, that is now at the West End Gallery as a late addition to my current solo show there. It certainly captures the feeling I experienced during what be my singular Eureka moment.

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GC Myers- EurekaI am in the final days of prep work for my upcoming show, Native Voice, at the Principle Gallery, which opens next Friday, June 5.  This will be my 16th show at the Alexandria gallery so my routine in finishing up in these few last days is pretty set.  Even so, it’s a hectic rush to get everything done.  For instance, even as I am framing I am still finishing up my final photography of the work.

For instance, just this morning I shot the 24″ by 30″ painting on canvas shown at the top.  I had photographed it before but the lighting  coupled with the blue tones made it a less than desirable photo, not really representative of the actual painting. But this one seems to hit the mark, capturing the blues in their actuality.

I call this painting Eureka.  The word is from the Greek, meaning “I have found it ” and was most famously attributed to Archimedes who upon sitting in a hot bath noticed that his body displaced an equal volume of water which meant that the volume of irregular objects could then be accurately measured.  That was not an easy thing to do around 250 BC.

But over the years, the word eureka has come to signify any great moment of discovery.  California uses it as their state motto after its use in the gold strikes of the mid 19th century.

In this painting, the bursting light which forms a corona around the Red Tree signifies a moment of  great recognition of some heretofore hidden truth, a discovery that forever alters one’s perspective of the world and their place in it.  It was not painted with this intent but the fact that the light is bursting from out of the blue of the sky is no small coincidence.  That is how these eureka moments normally reveal themselves– unannounced with little forewarning.

I’ve been fortunate to have one or two of these moments.  Well, one for sure.  And in that instance, I certainly felt like I was suddenly standing ablaze in the darkness that had surrounded me.  This piece really captures that instance for me.

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I’m in the midst of finishing up work for my upcoming show at the Principle Gallery early next month.   This show, my thirteenth there,  is titled A Place to Stand , after the famed quote from Archimedes, and opens June 8.  I’ve written here over the past few years about the process of working towards a show. For me, there’s a real rhythm that comes from this process, a deep groove where each new painting begins with little thought as to where it will go, each new piece just starting with a line or a slash of color then taking off on its own at a breakneck pace.  This rhythm is something I look forward to with every show.  It’s exciting to see work that sometimes doesn’t come so easily suddenly begin to flow easily before my eyes.   

I’ve done this long enough to appreciate how rare and fleeting is this feeling.  When I first experienced this euphoric rush, I didn’t recognize this, actually thinking it was just how things were, that I’d just progressed to a level where this was the norm.  Years later and many peaks and valleys in between, I know better.  As a result, I find myself really relishing the last few days when this rhythm seems to be fully in effect.  Relishing and hoping that it will hang around for a while.

This is a painting that came from this rhythmic surge, a 12″ by 16″ canvas that I call Blue Sovereignty.  There are a lot of things I could say about this painting.  The coolness and smoothness of tone in it that gives it a placid pall, for example.  Or how I see it as a sort of abstracted portrait when I look quickly at it, the moon serving as an eye in profile.  Or about the title’s reference to sovereignty,  about how we each have authority over our own life, our own empire of self.

 Or any number of different things.

But I will leave those alone for now. 

I think I just want to take it in without thought, much as it was created.  Free and easy…

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Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth.

Archimedes

^^^^^^^^^^^^

This is actually a condensed and long accepted version of  Archimedes‘  words.  It was really about the power of lever in physics.  He actually said: Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand  and I will move the Earth.  But the lever has been dropped over the 2200 or so  years since he lived and has come to signify something more than a statement about physical mechanics.  It is an almost existential statement about the power of the individual in changing the world.  The small somehow defeating  the overwhelming forces set against them.

David versus Goliath. 

 David’s lever was the sling and stone he used to take down the giant.  Every underdog has somehow identified a strategic advantage that has enabled them to triumph against all odds.  Something that plays to their own strengths and magnifies their greater opponent’s weaknesses. 

What is the lever you will use to move the Earth?

I call the painting above A Place to Stand after these words of Archimedes.  It is a new piece that is a 24″ by 30″ canvas that is a very simple composition that relies on the juxtaposition of the single Red Tree set against a powerfully set sky that seems ready to overwhelm the diminuative tree.  Yet, against all the elemental force  of wind and weather that  the sky can muster, the tree perseveres.  It uses the flexibility of its trunk and limbs to absorb the wind and its bark protects it against the heat and cold. 

It stands alone, without protection.  Yet it stands.   Just standing  strong where you are is a lever powerful enough to change the world. 

Perseverance is often its own victory.

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