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Posts Tagged ‘Gallery Talks’

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I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.

–eden ahbez

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The painting shown above is a new piece, a smallish 6″ by 12″ canvas, that will be going to the Principle Gallery on Saturday for my Gallery Talk there. Its title is And the Sky Cracked and is part of a small recent series that features my interpretations of lightning strikes. How accurate they are in a realistic or scientific way, I can’t say. That doesn’t really hold much sway for me, at least not as much as capturing how the lightning feels to me.

Lightning is an amazing thing, a natural wonder that inspires awe and fear like it was some sort of god. No wonder so many religions give their main gods the power to wield lightning. It can destroy yet can also illuminate, bringing clarity to a course of action. Being struck by lightning is how we often describe moments of the revelation of great truths, of moments of self-discovery that alter the lives of those who experience these moments.

Like the finger of a god pointing the way and giving light to the path forward.

Powerful stuff.

Walking through my woods I often see the traces of past lightning strikes etched in the bark of the trees. Some have splits that run from their tops all the way to the way to the ground, blackened by the heat of the electricity that surged through them. In the case of some recent strikes, the ground at the base of the tree is burnt where the cracked bark of the trunk runs into the soil.

We had one strike several years back that was like a multitude of shotgun blasts going off outside our door, so close there was not thunder to give us warning. The next morning I saw that an old, large white pine down our driveway had been hit by the lightning. A deep crack ran down one of its thick upper branches down into the main trunk.

About forty feet away I noticed a chunk of pine the size of a large brick laying in the grass. Looking back at the trunk I immediately saw the spot where it had been blown away from the tree, no doubt the boiling sap of the pine finding a weak spot there in which to explode.

About a year later, that large branch, the size of a mature tree in itself, came down in another storm. The power to destroy.

Here is another in this lightning series that will also be with me on Saturday. It is called Real Power and is an 18″ by 18″ canvas.

The quote at the top is from eden ahbez, perhaps one of the earliest hippies back in the 1940’s and the man who wrote the song Nature Boy, most famously recorded by Nat King Cole. I wrote about ahbez here back in 2009 and Nature Boy remains a favorite of mine. Below is the Nat King Cole version.

Hope you can make it to the Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria on Saturday. It starts at 1 PM and there is at least one painting to be given away along with some other goodies. Oh, and some good conversation. See you there!

 

 

 

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It has become a tradition for my Gallery Talks at the West End Gallery to have a very portion– a pretty popular one– that involves a drawing for those on hand to win one of my paintings. I have written in the past about how I take this very serious and try to find pieces that have meaning for me and which are, I believe, somehow overlooked. The painting I have chosen for this year’s Talk ( next Saturday, August 4 at 1 PM) definitely fits in that category.

Shown below, it is called Pipedream. I have watched with consternation as it traveled around the country, always coming back to me. You see, it was a favorite of mine from the minute it was done. It just felt right with a warmth and clarity that appealed to me and with its Red Tree and Red Roof, it is very much a signature piece. I wracked  my brain figuring out why this piece hadn’t found a home and all I could think was that this might be one of those cases where the title might be confusing if the viewer wasn’t aware of its origin. And if you knew what it meant, given the opioid crisis in this country, you might find it distasteful.

But I saw it in the best sense of the word, as a perfect dream with solitude, rich fields, clear sunlight and calm blue skies. A perfect retreat from a crazy world. So, to clear things up I am running the post about this painting from a few years back.

Hope you can make it to the Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery on August 4th to have a chance at winning this favorite of mine. Plus, as always, there is a little more at these talks. Put it on your calendar and come grab a seat. It could be fun.

GC Myers- Pipedream sm

Blow up your TV , throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try and find Jesus on your own

–John Prine, Spanish Pipedream

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This is a small new painting that is about 6″ by 11″ on paper. I call it Pipedream after the old John Prine song, Spanish Pipedream. I say old but it ‘s one of those songs that never feels old to me despite the fact that it came out back in 1971, forty three years [47 now] ago. It is old. One hint of its age is at the beginning of the song when he says he was a soldier on the way to Montreal, referring to fleeing north into Canada to avoid the Viet Nam war and the draft. But it’s still such an infectious chorus with a message that so hits the point that I still find myself humming this song quite often.

I guess this painting’s simplicity and cheery feel made me think of this song. There is something very idyllic and charmingly essential in this little guy. It does look a bit like a pipedream, which is one of those words that we often use while not thinking about its origin or meaning. This word, pipedream, is from Victorian era Britain and refers to an improbable fantasy or hallucination that came while smoking opium. Maybe this is an improbable fantasy? It does have a fantasy feel about it but lets hope it is not so improbable.

Now here’s the song  from one of my favorites, John Prine.

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GC Myers-  Inner Perception smallThis is a painting from a few years back that has toured around a bit and found its way back to me. Called Inner Perception, it has been one of my favorites right from the moment it came off my painting table. Maybe the inclusion of the the paint brush (even though it is a house painter’s brush) with red paint in the bristles makes it feel more biographical, more directly connected to my own self. Or maybe it was the self-referential Red Tree painting on the wall behind the Red Chair.

I don’t know for sure. But whatever the case, it is a piece that immediately makes me reflective, as though it is a shortcut to some sort of inner sanctum of contemplation. Looking at it this morning, the question I was asked at the Principle Gallery talk a week or so ago re-emerged, the one that asked what advice I might give my fifth-grade self if I had the opportunity. I had answered that I would tell myself to believe in my own unique voice, to believe in the validity of what I had to say to the world.

I do believe that but I think I might add a bit to that answer, saying that I would tell my younger self to be patient and not worry about how the world perceives you. That if you believed that your work was reflecting something genuine from within, others would come to see it eventually.

I would also add to never put your work above the work of anyone else and, conversely, never put your work beneath that of anyone else. I would tell myself to always ask , “Why not me?”

This realization came to me a couple of years ago at my exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum. When it first went up it was in a gallery next to one that held the work of the great American Impressionists along with a painting from Monet. I was greatly intimidated, worrying that my work would not stand the muster of being in such close proximity to those painters who I had so revered over the years. Surely the greatness of their work would show me to be a pretender.

But over the course of the exhibit, that feeling faded and the intimidation I had initially felt turned to a type of defiant determination. I began to ask myself that question: Why not me?

If my work was genuine, if it was true expression of my inner self and inner perceptions, was it any less valid than the work of these other painters? Did they have some greater insight of which I was not aware, something that made their work deeper and more connected to some common human theme? If, as I believe, everyone has something unique to share with the world, why would my expression of self not be able to stand along their own?

The answer to my question was in my own belief in the work and by the exhibit’s end I was no longer doubting my right to be there. So to my fifth-grade self and to anyone who faces self-doubt about the path they have chosen, I say that if you know you have given it your all, shown your own unique self, then you must ask that question: Why not me?

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I am in the midst of a crazy busy week as I put the finishing touches on work for my yearly show at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY. This year’s show is called The Rising and opens a mere two weeks from today, FridayJuly 13.

I primarily chose the title because the focus of many of these pieces in this show rested on the rising of the ball-like suns and moons in them. Add to that the posture of the Red Tree in a number of these paintings where it has seemingly climbed to the top the nearest mound and appears to be attempting to rise up to merge itself with the sky.

To transform itself from the worldly to the ethereal.

Ultimately, that is what I want my work to accomplish.

That’s a big jump, I know. And maybe I am foolhardy in thinking I can find it in my work. Certainly, to rise up above the baseness of the earthly and move into a spiritual realm comprised of higher ideals and virtues seems a far reach for any artist. But shouldn’t we attempt to reach beyond our grasp?

Shouldn’t we always aspire to be better?

It’s that quality of aspiring to be better that I hope comes through in this show. The painting at the top shares its title with the show, The Rising, and I hope lives up to it.

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Again, my new show, The Rising, opens Friday, July 1, at the West End Gallery with a reception that runs from 5-7:30 PM.

Plus, pencil in the date for my annual Gallery Talk at the West End takes place Saturday, August 4, beginning at 1 PM. There are more details on that to come but I can promise I will do my best to make it a good one. Like I said, shouldn’t we aspire to be better?

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With my annual Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d share a blog  entry from back in 2009 about a talk that was approaching then. I still have some of the same anxieties but it has gotten easier and I think a lot smoother over the years:

Gallery TalkWell, today’s my annual Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery in Corning in conjunction with my show, Dispatches, which is hanging there until the end of August.  I’ve done quite a few of these talks over the years, probably 14 or 15, so I know what to expect.  But there’s always a little anxiety anytime you have to speak in front of any group of people.

My gallery talks are always pretty much off the top of my head which, when it works and the audience is receptive and interacting, is good.  When it doesn’t work, it’s pretty ugly, especially for me.  A lot of blank stares and awkward silences as I try to find a hole in which I can hide.  Luckily, that’s only happened once or twice.

The first talk I did at the West End was back in 1997 and I had put everything I wanted to get across into a short speech that I wrote out and memorized.  Well, the talk began and I reeled off my little speech.  It was pretty good, everything moving along smoothly, until I came to the end of my prepared statement and glimpsed at the clock.

It had lasted about 4 minutes and my mind was a totally blank slate.

Tom Gardner, then co-owner of the gallery and a well known painter, had told me a little trick before the talk.  He told me to always have a glass of water and when I came to a spot where I was stuck with nothing to say to simply walk back and forth in front of the audience and take a very slow sip of the water.  Look thoughtful.  I thought it was pretty good advice until I realized I would be pacing back and forth, sipping water, for 56 minutes.

That much sipping would also demand a bathroom break.

Luckily, Tom rescued me with a question and from there it snowballed with the rest of the crowd asking questions, one subject leading to another. Phew!  Over the years I’ve gotten more comfortable with the whole thing and have an assortment of anecdotes to fall back on when things start to falter.

Another reason I don’t go in with a prepared speech is that each group of people is different.  Some groups are more interested in talking technique, wanting to know how each piece is painted.  What type of paint I use and how I achieve certain aspects in the paintings.  That kind of thing.  But others are not so interested in the how but in the why.  They prefer to hear what the stories are behind the paintings.  So, there’s a moment at the beginning of each talk  when I have to gauge what approach suits this particular group best.  I really try to stay away from the technical side for the most part because sometimes, when I’m droning on about such things, I can see the non-painters’ eyes glazing over.  I try to get off the subject as soon as possible when I spot this and try to engage their interest.

It usually goes pretty well and we all have a few laughs.  I’m hoping today is no different.  If you’re in the area today, the talk takes place at noon at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY.

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Win This Painting!

I think that last paragraph definitely applies to tomorrow’s talk. I am pretty sure it’s going to go well. I’ll tell some stories, we’ll have some laughs, maybe reveal a couple of things you didn’t know before and then I give away some stuff. That’s plural, as those who have come to these talks in the past will recognize. The painting shown here is the main prize but you never know what else will show up.  So tomorrow, Saturday, August 5, I encourage you to come out to the West End Gallery at 1 PM. Maybe come a little early to claim a seat. It should be fun.

An ASL Interpreter will be on hand

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