Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Exile’

GC Myers- The Exile's Wilderness

The Exile’s WildernessNow at the West End Gallery



For the first time in years, he felt the deep sadness of exile, knowing that he was alone here, an outsider, and too alert to the ironies, the niceties, the manners, and indeed, the morals to be able to participate.

Colm Tóibín, The Master



The painting above, The Exile’s Wilderness, is currently at the West End Gallery as part of my current show there. It was originally painted in early 2020 but without the actual figure that represents the Exile, as seen in the bottom right of the image above. I thought that the painting as it was, sans the Exile figure, was really strong and it quickly became one of my favorite pieces from that period in the early days of the pandemic.

I felt then that the painting didn’t need the figure, that it represented a view seen from the eyes of the exile.

But over the past year or so, as much as I liked this painting without the figure, I began to recognize that it actually needed the Exile in order to provide context. After all, not every person who looks at this will see themselves as an Exile.

So, the Exile entered the picture. And, though I was apprehensive as I proceeded, I was pleased by its effect. It’s contrast to the emptiness of the streets and windows made the figure seem even more alone. More apart. It heightened the overall effect for me.

It completed the circle of feeling that I was seeking in it.

Here’s a poem from Robert Frost, read by Tom O’Bedlam, that fits well with the Exile here. It’s his Acquainted With the Night.



Read Full Post »

“The Exile’s Wilderness”- Now at the Principle Gallery

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

“From the moment that man believes neither in God nor in immortal life, he becomes ‘responsible for everything alive, for everything that, born of suffering, is condemned to suffer from life.’ It is he, and he alone, who must discover law and order. Then the time of exile begins, the endless search for justification, the aimless nostalgia, ‘the most painful, the most heartbreaking question, that of the heart which asks itself: where can I feel at home?”

Albert Camus, The Rebel

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

I came across the excerpt above from The Rebel from Albert Camus while searching for something to accompany the painting at the top, The Exile’s Wilderness, which is part of my current exhibit hanging at the Principle Gallery.

This short paragraph stopped me in my tracks and I found myself reading the words and phrasing of it over and over again this morning. It summed up so well the feeling that I take from this painting and that sense of exile, of separateness, that I have often experienced.

The search for justification, the sometimes pointless nostalgia of memory, the feeling of being responsible for everything alive and for setting things in some sort of order– they all feel too familiar.

But it’s that final question that stirred me most: Where can I feel at home?

It is a heartbreaking question. I believe most of us take for granted that feeling of comfort and of being at home. But for the Exile it is an elusive thing, perhaps even an impossibility. In the absence of the real comfort of home they settle for the security found in hiding or in blending in, hiding in plain sight with large and faceless crowds.

That’s the wilderness to which I refer in this painting– a place for the Exile to hide and find security in a world where they may never feel truly at home.

And odd as this may sound, there is great comfort in this. Just having a place where one feels safe and secure is a desirable state of being for most of us because in such an environment we can create and define our own sense of home.

If you think about many of the problems facing us today, most come down to conflicts between people rightly seeking that sense of home, of safety and security, for themselves and those who would deny them that right.

There’s a lot to read into this painting, more than it lets on at first glance. Much like the Exile walking unseen and unnoticed among the crowd.

Read Full Post »

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

I showed a work in progress here a couple of weeks ago that featured a cityscape that I compared to a skeleton that spoke to me as I painted, telling me how to flesh it out. Above is a side by side comparison that shows where that skeleton led me.

It was one of those paintings where I find myself constantly trying to restrain myself from going too bright. As noted in recent posts, I am looking for more depth and darkness in the colors I employ right now. But I often still want to go the next higher and brighter tone. Holding back on that impulse is difficult but rewarding in the long run. Even though this is a painting with a lot of color, it is greatly restrained which allows the deeper colors hold court and show through clearly.

I was originally going to call this piece Light on Main Street. It works well but in the end I opted to adopt the title from the classic Rolling Stones album, Exile on Main Street. The reason for this change was that I saw this piece as being the view of the Exile, an important character in my work, standing on the other side of the street.

The Exile sees the blank  and anonymous eyes of the lit buildings. It’s a feeling of alienation that I described in a post last week, Inner City Blue, about another cityscape, where each building seems like its own alien world filled with lives and occurrences about which you know little, if anything.

I think this feeling of being the Exile, a stranger in a strange land, is enhanced by the reddish tones of the sky and the deep gem tones of the distant mountains.

They seem familiar but different somehow.

And it’s that familiar but different feeling that appeals to me. I think it is may be something I actively seek in my work. It might be described as a desire to have you feel the comfort of the familiar while at the same time thinking that there is something different at play.

I really don’t know for sure.

I’ve looked at this piece for a couple of weeks now and I am still taking it in. The fact that it makes me want to continue to do so is a good indicator for my personal judgement of a work. I look forward to continue doing so with this piece.

Hey, since I snagged their title, how about a track from the Stones from Exile on Main Street? Hard to decide which to use with so many great tracks from which to choose. However, I am going with a personal fave, Sweet Virginia, in honor of Virginia’s presidential primary taking place today. Plus, there’s something in it that matches up well with this painting. Can’t put a finger on it but…

Hey, have yourself a good day.

 


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: