Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Arvo Part’

We live in a time of chaos and confusion, amidst a constant bombardment of information and misinformation, an indecipherable babble of yelled opinions and enough stupidity to fill all the oceans and flood every coastline of this planet.

And that’s on a good day.

This morning I found myself longing for something, some music or reading, that would take me away from this maelstrom of madness. I came to the music of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt whose piece Tabula Rasa was a big influence on my early work.

His work is the antidote to the turbulence of our time. It is what I would call slow music. It is the sort of music that requires you to pause to hear it fully. Doing so slows down the elevated heartbeat, syncs it to a pace that seems to be a meditative drone that has long resided in us though we have long forgotten our ability to find it within ourselves.

For quite some time I have enjoyed Pärt’s adaptation of My Heart’s in the Highlands, which is a 1789 poem/song from the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Listening to it reminds me of the time spent alone wandering in the woods and fields in the hills around our home as a youth. Those times had that same pace, that same heartbeat and silence that made it so memorable in my mind.

Many times I have found my mind wandering back to those times and the spaces and silences that created a sense of home within me. Burns’ words speak a truth for me especially in these times so filled with sound and fury.

Allow yourself to pause for a moment and give a listen. Perhaps you will find your own heart in the highlands…

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,

My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer –

A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;

My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North

The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth;

Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,

The hills of the Highlands forever I love.

Farewell to the mountains high cover’d with snow;

 Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;  

Farewell to the forrests and wild-hanging woods;

Farwell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,

My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer

Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;

My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Read Full Post »

I stop every time I go back through old posts on the blog and come across this photo. It makes me think about how we constantly take in information in many forms and what we do with that input– how it affects our perception and vision as we move forward. As an artist, this is the fuel that feeds my furnace. 

************************

I was listening to music this morning as I read email and puttered around. My iPod was docked and in random mode so anything could come on.  At first one of my favorite pieces, Tabula Rasa from composer Arvo Part, played. It’s a modern classical piece that I have always identified with. Tabula Rasa translates as empty slate and was actually very influential in a lot of my early painting, helping me visualize the feeling of wide space as I painted.

Next up was Highway Patrol from Junior Brown, which is worlds away from Tabula Rasa. It’s clunky and chunky and throttles along on Brown’s deep twangy voice and his unique guit-steel guitar licks. I began to think about how the mood shifts so quickly between the two selections, how the mind is suddenly thrown from silence to chaos and how in the vacuum of that contrast something new is being formed

Something very interesting in this contrast. I began to wonder if this has an effect on my painting, on strokes and color selection.  Am I looking for different things in my work when different types of stimuli are present? It’s something I’ll have to examine further.

The picture shown is of a visual/psychological phenomenon called the contrast triangle. Just above the reflected light on the water is a dark triangle in the sky, tapering from the area above the lit reflection on water up to the moon/sun in the sky.

This triangle is not really there.

If you cover the water, the darkness fades away. Go ahead, try it.

The triangle only exists in our eyes and minds. Our reaction to the reflected light creates something new, a different form. Don’t know why I put this in today except that maybe this little area of created vision is similar to the influence of other stimuli on a person’s creative work.

I don’t really know.  I am working off the cuff here, you know.

Here was the next song that came up this morning, perhaps the third leg in my own personal contrast triangle.  It’s another favorite, Gillian Welch performing with her husband David Rawlings, with Miss Ohio.  What this triangle will produce in my eyes is yet to be seen but I am sure it is something.  We’ll see…

Read Full Post »

GC Myers- Endless Time-webI was looking at some older paintings in the studios, my orphans as I call them.  But some are not orphans, not without a home.  Some are just here because they are my own and have some sort of special meaning for me.  Such is the case with the piece above, Endless Time.  It’s a piece that I consider a link to my earliest works, a reminder of the inner forces that drove me into the work I now do.

Back in 2009, I wrote in a blogpost here about this painting:

This is really a direct descendent from my earliest work that focused on open spaces and blocks of color, work that was meant to be spare and quiet.  The weight of the piece is carried by the abstract qualities of the landscape and the intensity of the colors.  

With this piece, I have chosen to forego the  kinship that the red tree often fosters with the viewer, acting as a greeter inviting them to enter and feel comfortable within the picture plane.   In Endless Time the viewer is left to their own devices when they enter the picture.  There is no place to hide, no cover.  They are exposed to the weight of the sky and the roll of the landscape.  They are alone with not a sound nor distraction.

It becomes, at this point, a meditation.  One is not merely looking at a landscape.  To go into this painting one must be willing to look inside themselves as well.

This painting, like much of my early work, was in large part influenced by a piece of music, Tabula Rasa,  from the great contemporary composer Arvo Pärt.  It’s a piece that speaks of empty spaces and the meditative quality of silences.  The purpose of my work as I saw it at that time was to find silence, to find a sanctuary from  the cacophony and discord of civilization.  That is still very much the case although the work has evolved in other ways.

I thought for this Sunday morning music I would share another composition from Arvo Pärt which I think also very much fits this piece.  It is titled Spiegel im Spiegel which translates from the German as Mirror in the Mirror.  Think of an Infinity Mirror where two mirrors facing one another produce an image that is endlessly reflected back upon itself in ever smaller variations until it finally disappears.  In some ways, some art serves as an infinity mirror of sorts,  I know that this piece does so for me.

So give a listen but be warned that this is a quiet and meditative piece performed with only a piano and cello.  If you’re looking for a toe-tapper or a sing-along, you might be disappointed.  But like sometimes looking at art, one’s openness and patience is rewarded.

Read Full Post »

GC Myers- Eternally FreeJust a reminder that you can hear a radio interview I did with Tish Pearlman for her program Out of Bounds this morning on WSKG-FM in New York and Northern Pennsylvania.   It  can also be heard on a live stream online at wskg.org.  The show airs at 11:30 AM,  just before Ira Glass and This American Life comes on at noon.

One of the questions asked was about what sort of music I listen to in the studio and the one specific piece I mentioned was Tabula Rasa from composer Arvo Pärt, one that I’ve mentioned here in the past.  It always inspires me and reminds me of the drive to find the big silence of the open landscape in my work.  The piece above, Eternally Free, is a favorite of mine that hangs in my studio and is one that I am always reminded of by this music.

I hope you can tune in this morning but for now, here’s the second movement from this wonderful piece of music which is title Silentium: Senza Moto which translates as Silence: Motionless.   The big quiet.

Read Full Post »

Peers- GC Myers 2003

I’m in the last days of painting before I start final preparations such as framing and such for my upcoming show.  I’m currently putting the final touches on a piece that is a multiple similar in form to the one shown here, Peers from back in 2003.   The piece I’m working on consists of 3 rows of 3 red trees on a 30″ by 30″ canvas.  I’ve used multiple images a number of times over the years, although I often go years between.  There is something almost musical, almost choral, in the repetition of form.

I only mention this today because when I came into the studio I put on an album (CD actually but I still call them albums) of work from Arvo Part.  One of the first pieces to play was Cantus in Memoriam of Benjamin Britten.  It was a mesmerizing tonal piece and as it played, I looked at the title and realized I didn’t know what was meant by the cantus in the title.

Looking it up brought me to the term cantus firmus which is described as a sort of polyphonic composition, meaning it is comprised of multiple interwoven and, often, the same melodies.  A Gregorian chant is an example of one type of polyphony.  The voices, or melodies, are repeated,  one over the other, some at different tones and varying lengths.  I don’t know much about music but as I read I began to equate this meshing of voices and melodies in a cantus firmus with what I was trying to achieve with the multiple images in the painting I was working on.  Each image is basically the same but because of the way they are positioned and come together as a whole, they become more than the product of their parts.

At least, that’s my take on it. 

Anyway, I found a name for the piece I am finishing.  Cantus Firmus.

Here’s the composition from Arvo Part:

+

Read Full Post »

I was listening to music this morning as I read email and puttered around.  My iPod was docked and in random mode so anything could come on.  At first one of my favorite pieces, Tabula Rasa from composer Arvo Part, played.  It’s a modern classical piece that I have always identified with.  Tabula Rasa translates as empty slate and was actually very influential in a lot of my early painting, helping me visualize the feeling of wide space as I painted.

Next up was Highway Patrol from Junior Brown, which is worlds away from Tabula Rasa.  It’s clunky and chunky and throttles along on Brown’s deep twangy voice and his unique guit-steel guitar licks.  I began to think about how the mood shifts so quickly between the two selections, how the mind is suddenly thrown from silence to chaos.

Something very interesting in this contrast.  I began to wonder if this has an effect on my painting, on strokes and color selection.  Am I looking for different things in my work when different types of stimuli are present?  It’s something I’ll have to examine further.

The picture shown is of a visual/psychological phenomenon called the contrast triangle.  Just above the reflected light on the water is a dark triangle in the sky.  Supposedly, it’s not really there.  If you cover the water, the darkness fades away.  It is only in our eyes and minds that it exists.  Don’t know why I put this in today except that maybe this little area of created vision is similar to the influence of other stimuli on someone’s creative work.

I don’t really know.  I am working off the cuff here, you know.

Here was the next song that came up this morning.  Another favorite, Gillian Welch with Miss Ohio.  I think that fits somewhere in my contrast triangle.  We’ll see…

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: