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GC Myers- Exultation 2021

Exultation“- Hanging Now at the West End Gallery



Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.”

The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back.

A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames.

Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth’s surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back, and pour, a brown fluid.

Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.

― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek



I’ve been wanting to share this passage from Annie Dillard for some time. When looking for something to partner with the new painting at the top, Exultation, it came to mind.

I see this painting as being about the appreciation for the wonder of the moment in this place. Our whole existence as a species has been a miracle of sorts, taking eons and ages for the conditions of this planet to adjust to a point where we might survive and even thrive.

It is a precious and precarious existence.

As Annie Dillard makes clear, the mark made by humans is but a blip in the time-lapse film of this planet’s history. And each of us, from the greatest figures in history to the most humble among us, is no more than a fleck of dust whirling as background noise.

Our time was always going to be limited in the grand scheme of things. It took, as I say, a miraculous concoction of conditions to create the delicate environment required to sustain us. But that environment is equally as fragile. We may well be shortening our own screen time in that film of this planet’s lifetime.

But in our best of times, as few as they may have been or will be, it has been place of great beauty and abundance. A place that allows us at those moments to sense a seeming harmony between the earth, sea, sky, and all that is beyond this world.

Perhaps our tenuous existence on this planet’s timeline makes those rare days even more precious. Times to exult.



Exultation is a 24″ by 36″ painting on canvas now hanging at the West End Gallery. It is included in my solo show there, Through the Trees, which opens tomorrow, Friday, July 16. There is an opening reception from 4-7 PM Friday at the gallery.

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9921087 Through the Trees (and Toward the Light) rev sm

Through the Trees (and Toward the Light)– GC Myers



I have spent most of my life moving through the trees.

The title for my new solo exhibit at the West End Gallery, is Through the Trees. It is a show that focuses on the place of trees, specifically the Red Tree which has been my symbolic stand-in for the past twenty-plus years, in my work and in my psyche.

You see, I have spent much of my life moving through the forest whose trees and dark, cool spaces have been my companions since I was a child playing alone on the wooded hillside behind our old farmhouse.  It was there that I began to appreciate the importance of solitude and learned how to be alone.

My home and studios have been in the forest and looking out the window of my studio as I write this, I am greeted with a wall of verdant green foliage on the trees surrounding me. In the winter, the trunks and limbs of the trees are exposed like skeletons in shades of gray and black.

For the past twenty-four years I have left my home each day and walked through the trees to my studio, following a path that is now worn as though it has been in place since time began. And maybe it has. Who knows who may have traveled these woods in the ages before I found my way here?

I find a sort of symbology in this short trek, one that takes me through the darkness of the woods to the light of the clearing. I find unity with the trees and the wild spirit they represent during my walk and unity with humanity in my studio where I do the work that connects me with others.

But even in the studio, as I attempt to reach out to other humans the forest is always close at hand to remind me of wilder, primal parts of myself.

So, it is only natural that the tree shows itself so often in my work. This show highlights that fact and represents my journey from light to dark that takes place each day.

The painting at the top is the title piece for this show. It is called Through the Woods (and Toward the Light) and is 30” wide by 40” high. The show will be hung today and tomorrow and is available for previews. The opening for the show is next Friday, July 16, from 4-7 PM at the West End Gallery on Market Street in Corning.

At this point, I plan on being in attendance. I am honestly a bit nervous about that since it is my first appearance with people in the last two years. I feel a bit like an awkward kid. But unless something happens with our viral rate, I will be there to talk about my work and hopefully see some folks I haven’t seen in quite some time.

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“I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history.”

W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence



Short one today for this Sunday morning. The painting above is a little guy, a new 2″ by 4″ piece called What Was, headed to the West End Gallery for the Little Gems show. It’s one of those pieces that speak to me of the search for home, a theme that has been pretty prevalent in my work over the years.

I very much identify with the excerpt above from Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence whose story incorporates the search for home by Paul Gauguin, which eventually took him to Tahiti. I have always felt a bit out of place, even in this place where I have lived all my life.

Yet, I don’t know what place or situation might ever make me feel truly at home. Maybe that’s the purpose of my work, at least for me personally. To formulate an idea of what home might be.

I don’t really know. But I know that it has a strong pull.

Let’s leave it at that. For this Sunday, on the theme of home, I am returning to an old Staple Singers song from the late 1950’s. I played Uncloudy Day on this blog recently and this song, I’m Coming Home, is very much in that same vein. It’s from the same timeframe and has that same sort of sharp underlying guitar line from Pops and powerful vocals from a very young Mavis Staples. Great song to kick off a cold Sunday morning.

Have a good day.



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“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

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These words above from an Oscar Wilde prose piece seems to fit this new painting, To the Far Reaches, perfectly. Well. at least, in my eyes.

Those who dream often take journeys that carry them beyond the far reaches of our reality. Guided by their imagination like sailors are led by the light from the sun and moon, they are rewarded by wonders in these fantastical worlds that only they will ever see.

But this same imagination that gives them such rewards, also allows them to foresee the far reaches of reality before it actually comes to bear in this world. While mingling their imagination with a bit of knowledge of the world and its patterns to foresee the potential outcomes of the near future can sometimes be a reward when those future skies are bright, it can be a great punishment in times ahead that fall under dark skies.

It may cause the dreamer to question their own vision, their own imagination. They may stop telling others of their vision and may try to quell their journeying altogether. Or perhaps go even further beyond the far reaches of reality, into a world of pure imagination.

Or they may stay true to their imagination and speak even louder with the hope that they can avoid the darkness ahead and that they will once again be rewarded with new and brighter dawns ahead.

That’s the choice I would prefer they make– to keep speaking of what they see ahead and to keep pushing forward because as Carl Sagan once said: “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.

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This painting, To the Far Reaches, 8″ by 24″ on canvas, is part of this year’s edition, From a Distance, of my annual solo show of new work at the West End Gallery. The show opens this Friday, July 17. The show is hung and in place so you can stop in at the gallery now to get a preview of what I think is a very strong show.

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The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do

Chris Isaak, Wicked Game

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Another piece headed to the West End Gallery for their annual Little Gems exhibit, opening next Friday, February 7. It’s called Wicked Game after the title of the Chris Isaak song from 1989. Wow, hard to believe it’s been that long. But that opening line– The world was on fire…— was the first thing that came to mind when I finished this little piece.

It fit the painting.

As does the second line– It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do…– which fits the time, this particular moment in history as we watch a Republican party so fixated on their desire to maintain power that they will turn a blind eye to the corruption of our system that has taken place in the open for us all to see. The question of whether they will ever stand up for truth and justice, against those wrongs we know have been done and those we expect will be done in the future, seems to leaning toward a big and emphatic NO.

Doing that which is right even when it doesn’t personally benefit you or goes against your personal interests is a noble and honorable thing.

Don’t expect to see such a thing anytime soon.

Like the song says: It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do. Put on your seatbelts, folks. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Here’s the original from Chris Isaak.

 

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When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.

― Ralph EllisonInvisible Man

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I think of many of the paintings that I do with the Red Tree situated very much front and center as being a portrait of sorts. I see a face and head and shoulders set against the background. Sometimes I see the familiar faces of others in them and sometimes they feel like self-portraits.

I definitely this painting, a 36″ by 36″ painting on canvas that is titled Find Your Light, see as a self-portrait. If someone asked for my picture I would prefer giving this image rather than an actual photo of myself. Maybe I am being vain in thinking that it resembles any part of me but I can at least hope it represents the better part of me because there is a lot that l like in this painting.

I like the field of colors that acts as a garment shrouding the chest and neck of this portrait. I like the burst of brightness that comes from the center set against the multitude of deeper colors that surround it. And I like the bands of blue-green hills that seem like a coat loosely draped on the shoulders of the portrait’s subject. And the layers of color within the clouds and the soft glow of blue that surrounds them.

All these things combined with the impact of the painting’s size give it a quality that appeals to me, one that feels like a sense of self being clearly and confidently stated. That’s a quality that I hope for myself and for my work. I guess that is why I see it in some way as a self-portrait.

Maybe you see yourself in it? That would equally please me.

This painting, Find Your Light, is now hanging at the West End Gallery as part of my solo show, The Rising, which opens Friday, July 13.

I

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The title for my show opening July 14 at the West End Gallery is Self Determination. The title for the painting above, a 24″ by 36″ canvas, which is included in the show, is Self Preservation.

The title comes from how I have come to view the current state of this world over the past several years. Decades of insulating ourselves via the internet, content in our own little echo chambers where we are constantly pushed further away from others by figures hidden in the shadows of the web who profit by exploiting our division, have brought us to a state where misinformation is more prevalent that fact.

Where belief, however unfounded it may be, has an equal value with truth.

Where every event is recorded with multiple sets of alternate facts allowing each person to justify their point of view and belief.

Where every word and sentence is parsed to detect which way that person leans in their belief.

Where intolerance is tolerated.

Where rational discussion has been thrown over for a constant uncivil cacophony of screamed biases and opinions, a virtual Tower of Babel where there is a constant sound and fury yet no one hears a word being said but their own.

It is a maddening time, one that truly challenges our sanity, personally and as a whole.

It leads me to the question: How does one weather such a time, hows does one hold on to what they see as their own truth– who and what they are at their core– without being swept up in the ill winds that rake this world?

What does one hold on to for self preservation?

I don’t know that I have an answer that applies to anyone other than myself. But it’s all I have and, for now, that will have to suffice.

Self preservation for me comes in the inner world I visit in my paintings.

I see it as a place where truth and belief come together. It is place where there is an inherent sense of rightness, of calm rationality, of harmony, and of little anger.

And it is without hatred or prejudice. While it is my world and it is a place of tolerance, excluding no one.

I am free in this world. Safe. At peace. Part of a universe that understands me, that hears my voice and responds to my prayers and desires.

Oh, I don’t have to be told how foolish it all sounds. I know that it is an escape from the harshness and insanity that the world offers us at the moment. But it is a world in which I have lived happily for many years, more sane and content than I ever was before that world came to be.

Perhaps that is an answer that will work for others– to find that inner world for yourself where you can periodically retreat, even for a moment, to experience calmness and a sense of self.

I don’t know for sure. I just know that is has been a place of self preservation for me for decades now.

Excuse me, I have to head over there now…

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Self Preservation opens July 14 at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY.

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GC Myers- Energizing Light smThere are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

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As a rule I don’t have favorites when it comes to my work.  I have always felt that I can see something in each completed painting that somehow resonates within me, something that calls out and connects to me.

In some pieces I see traces of myself as I am and as I have been in the past, reflecting moments of emotion that I have experienced at some point in the distant or recent past.  In other pieces I see them as aspiring to a form of consciousness that seems in the future, at a point well beyond me in the present.

It is one that appears to be rooted in a placid state of mind, one that is connected to a greater source of light and becomes, as Edith Wharton so aptly put it, the mirror that reflects it.

That is how I saw this painting, a 36″ by 24″ canvas titled Energizing Light, from the minute it took form on the easel.  It has a harmony and depth that gives it that aspirational aspect that so appeals to me.  It makes me hopeful in my possibilities as a human as well as an artist.  And that hopefulness makes pieces such as Energizing Light feel special for me.

This painting is part of my show, Contact, which opens Friday, July 22, at the West End Gallery.  There is an opening reception from 5-7:30 PM which is open to all.  Stop on in, have a glass of wine and take a look around.  I’ll be glad to see you there.

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GC Myers  Destiny Bound framedIn everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption.

Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder

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If you’re in the Corning area this afternoon, I will be giving a Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery beginning at 1 PM.  My talks usually consist of some biographical background, a few stories about the paintings as well as some other things and honest answers to any questions asked of me.  Oh, and it comes to an end with a drawing for the painting above, Destiny Bound.

I try to make it as entertaining and informative as possible, usually just speaking off the cuff.  Sometimes there is a theme, other times there is not.  I may have a theme for today and perhaps the quote from author Raymond Chandler points to what it might be. Or not.  Maybe I just like and agree with this quote.  Or maybe the talk will go ina completely different direction right from the start.

I won’t know until I’m standing there and open my mouth for the first time.  These talks are kind of like my painting– sometimes I have an idea of where I want them to go and they go to a place I never saw coming.  And sometimes those unexpected places are the most gratifying.  So, we’ll see where we end up today.

Hope you can make it.

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GC Myers-Transmitters smAll art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.

Federico Fellini

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I love this quote from legendary Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini and the image of us all having a pearl inside ourselves, just waiting to be revealed to the outer world.  It’s a pearl that is formed from the experiences and observations that make up our lives.

It fits well  with the theme for the Gallery Talk that takes place Saturday at the West End Gallery in Corning.  I plan on talking about  how art has transformed my life and how that transformation has made its way into my work.  In short, how my own simple pearl was formed and  brought to light.

An example of that might be in the painting at the top, a very new work that will be shown for the first time on Saturday called Transmitters which is 10″ by 20″ on canvas.  I see it as being about the need to communicate, about how we seek  and reach out to like-minded people throughout our lives.  For me this has been one of the biggest needs that  painting has fulfilled for me.  It has provided a platform for me to express thoughts and emotions that I would struggle to express in any other way.  In doing so it has created a path forward to reaching others who share similar thoughts and emotions.

So here the pearl is the Red Tree and it reaches across space to others who feel they have their own Red Tree within.  Hopefully, knowing that allows them to open their own shells and share it with the world.

Well, that might be part of what I’ll be talking about on Saturday.  Who knows what might come up?

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