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Posts Tagged ‘GC Myers’

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“it was the kind of moon
that I would want to
send back to my ancestors
and gift to my descendants

so they know that I too,
have been bruised…by beauty.” 

Sanober Khan, Turquoise Silence

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I call this new painting, a 16″ by 8″ canvas, The Bruise of the Moon. I take the title from  the snippet above was taken from a poem, Tonight’s Moon, from the book Turquoise Silence from contemporary Indian poet, Sanober Khan.

I like this idea that beauty makes a deep impression, bruises us in a way. And that effect by the moon seems the perfect example as its beauty has been our companion since we first came to be here, however that may be.

Very often we pay little attention to the moon as it rises and falls through all our nights. We fail to notice its light and the path it traces across the sky as we focus on our earthly matters.

Yet, every so often, it refuses to be taken for granted and demands that we stop and take it in, to admire its cool and distant majesty. To make us consider that it has looked down on all that man has done in our relatively short time here, at least when compared the time that the Moon has looked down on our planet. To think that it has witnessed the conquests of Alexander the Great, the birth of Jesus, the explorations and sailors that circled the globe and so much more, including welcoming us as we came to visit it in the distant space it occupies.

It has watched us at our best and at our worst, forever a true companion to the most and least among us, almost leaving a mark, a bruise behind. It makes me wonder if that person who does not see the beauty in the moon even has the ability to see beauty in anything. It’s a thought that makes me sad because I can’t imagine what kind of person I would have to be to not feel the emotion that comes with witnessing the eternal and ageless beauty that the Moon brings us without fail.

This painting will be be included in my coming solo show, Self Preservation, at the West End Gallery which opens July 14.

 

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I came across this blogpost from four years back and it made me go over and closely examine the painting about which I was writing. It’s one of those things where you walk by it every day and after a bit, you fail to really see it. But looking at it reminded me of how much it bolstered me at the time it took its little prize.

I haven’t entered a painting in a competition for many years now. I never liked the idea of judging one painting against another as though there was some objective scale on which to judge them. Plus the idea of a group of judges trying to get a grasp of your work with 10 seconds exposure to it seemed kind of unfair in some way. Not that I didn’t have successes in the competitions I did enter. I took third place in a national competition and had a couple of Best in Shows along with a couple of other awards in regional events. But it never felt good to me and when I felt like it no longer served my needs I stopped entering them. 

But those competitions did wonders for me early on in my development and I may not be writing this today if not for them. Here’s what I wrote a few years back:

GC Myers-The Sky Doesn't Pity 1995smI was looking around my studio, taking in some of the work hanging on the walls throughout the house.  There are pieces from other artists, including some talented friends and young fans along with some notables such as David Levine and Ogden Pleissner.  But most of it is older work of my own.  There are a few orphans, paintings that showed extensively but never found a home.  In some I see flaws that probably kept someone from taking it home but most just didn’t find that right person with which to connect.  Most of the other hanging work is work that I won’t part with, work that somehow has deeper meaning for me.  Work that just stays close.

One of these paintings is the one shown here, The Sky Doesn’t Pity, a smallish watercolor that’s a little over 4″ square.  It was painted in 1995 after I had started publicly showing my work for the first time at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY, not too far from my home.  The gallery has been what I consider my home gallery for 18 years [22 years now], hosting an annual solo show of my work for the last eleven years.  This year’s show, Islander, ends next Friday.

But when this piece was done I was still new there, still trying to find a voice and a style that I could call my own.  I had sold a few paintings and had received a lot of encouragement from showing the work at the gallery but was still not sure that this would lead anywhere.  I entered this painting in a regional competition at the Gmeiner Art Center in Wellsboro , a lovely rural village in northern Pennsylvania with beautiful Victorian homes and gas lamps running down Main Street.

It was the first competition I had ever entered and, having no expectations, was amazed when I was notified that this piece had taken one of the top prizes.  I believe it was a third but that didn’t matter to me.  Just the fact that the judges had seen something in it, had recognized the life in it, meant so much to me.  It gave me a tremendous sense of validation and confidence in moving ahead.  Just a fantastic boost that opened new avenues of possibility in my mind.

I still get that same sense even when I look at this little piece today, a feeling that would never let me get rid of this little guy.  I can’t tell you how many times I have glimpsed over at this painting and smiled a bit, knowing what it had given me all those years ago.

It encourages me even now.

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If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.

Henry Miller
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We often search and search, moving from place to place, trying to find that certain something that we can’t quite name. We have it in our minds that it is a physical place, a tangible object, that will satisfy our need to wander.

New people to meet.

New streets to explore.

New landscapes to surround us. New hills to climb.

But maybe what we seek is just a new way of seeing ourselves, of a new opportunity to unleash the person we desire ourselves to be. Or, more likely, a chance to see ourselves as we really are, something that becomes obscured in the familiar. Being anchored, as Miller infers above, in the repetition of  day to day life has us showing ourselves always in the same light. We lose touch with aspects of who we are that are never allowed to come to light.

The search allows us that new perspective. While we remain the same we see ourselves from new angles, new vantage points, allowing us to feel new. Different.

Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not, exposing perspectives on ourselves we would rather not see and may have hidden for a long time. But hopefully unveiling the truth of all that we are will somehow  make us feel comfortable in our wholeness.  Knowing our shortcomings as well as our strengths make us more real, more human.

What we seek is always with us.

You might not view it the same way but that’s what I am seeing in this new painting, an 8″ by 16″ canvas, that I call Destination Seen. It is headed to the West End Gallery for my upcoming show, Self Determination, which opens July 14.

 

 

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Sometimes, after reading and listening to the news in the morning, I find myself feeling frustrated, angry, incredulous, despondent and helpless. It’s been that way for the last 20 years but more so in the past year as I see the tribalism of today’s politics take us so far from the ideals of democracy for the people. There’s more and more sheer greed and self-service  without even the pretext of trying to hide it and the basis for legislation seems to be based not on the greater good but on how high a level of spite it can reach.

And the right’s constant kowtowing to the corporate and financial gods makes me feel downright queasy because my years on this planet have taught me that a top down approach– the trickle down effect, if you prefer–is only a pretext for allowing the wealthiest of us to gain more and more wealth with an unenforceable promise that they will freely spread the wealth to a population that has been made dependent to their whims. It is a ridiculous concept as an economic theory and has never shown itself to benefit anyone other than those holding the most wealth.

So , yesterday while the world sat mesmerized while a little more kerosene was thrown on the dumpster fire that is our president, the Republicans in congress voted to repeal most of the banking regulations, Dodd-Frank, that were enacted in the aftermath of the economic meltdown of 2008. It would allow the big banks to resume the activities that led to that crisis, allowing them to make risky bets with the knowledge that the taxpayer’s will be there to pay for their losses.

So, again, this morning I find myself frustrated, angry, incredulous, despondent and helpless.

I decided to walk around my studio and look at some of the things on the wall.  Maybe I could find something there that would placate the feelings, give me a different place in which to put myself. I settled in a corner of my main painting space (shown here on the right) where I have a very large painting of mine with four smaller painting above it. It’s a group of work that means a lot to me in several ways. A couple are early pieces, one is a favorite from my Outlaws series, and the last just seems to settle me down when I am upset.

That would be Realm of Thought, shown at the top. It’s from 2003 and has been hanging with me in my workspace for most of that time. I don’t think it’s necessarily my best work and there’s nothing about that I find remarkable or beyond me, as I have sometimes described. But it has an unusual knack for centering me, focusing my attention on the ethereal  rather than the worldly.

And that makes it special for me.

I definitely needed it this morning. And, as it always has, it gave what I asked from it. It eased that knot that was tied in my guts. It slowed my mind’s racing pace and for a moment I felt myself in the slightly cool yet warm air atop that knoll.

It was good. It was needed.

I have a feeling that I will be revisiting that location much more in the coming months. But at least is there for me.

 

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My Buddy Chase in front of the work

Back in the studio after Friday’s opening of Truth and Belief at the Principle Gallery. Without hyperbole, I am saying it was a good show and a good trip. As smooth and easy and satisfying as any of the previous 17 shows there. Just plain good. Good crowd. Good conversations with good people. Good feelings about the work.

So when we left yesterday, I can honestly say I felt pretty good about the whole thing. Still do, which is new territory for me. Usually by this morning I am filled with second thoughts about things I could have done differently, words I could have said differently and so on. But for now, I am standing pat with the whole of what happened.

It was good.

I have to send out heartfelt thank yous to everyone at the Principle Gallery. They are a very special group of people. Affectionate thanks to Michele, Clint, Pam, Pierre and Haley for their friendship and encouragement. There’s so much I could say but I think they know how we feel about them.

Plus super thanks to my canine friends, Ash and Chase, who always brighten my visits with their high energy.

I think this show was as honest and transparent an expression of what I hope to be as an artist and a person as I could have mustered. I don’t feel like I am masked behind the work, that I am presenting a facade that misrepresents me. I am hoping that means I am closing in on some elusive and unconscious goal. Can’t say I will ever truly reach it. Might not even know if I do. But for now, the mask feels like its off.

For this week’s music, I have chose a song that sort of fits with that last sentiment.  It’s This Masquerade written and performed by the late great Leon Russell. It is probably best known for the George Benson version that was a huge hit across all of the charts. But I like this version from Leon alone with his piano.

Enjoy. Have a good day.

 

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I ran this blog entry back in early March but wanted to run it again as we got closer to the opening of Truth and Belief, my solo show opening tomorrow at the Principle Gallery. I wanted to show this painting in its final form with the band of Indian yellow that now surrounds the central image. It was shown without this but I thought that this really added a bold kick to the piece that needed to be shown.

We have to balance the lineality of the known universe with the nonlineality of the unknown universe.

Carlos Castaneda
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I am calling this new painting Balance (Known/Unknown).  It is a 14″ by 32″ canvas and will have a slightly different edge detail that I will show at a later date. [It is shown with it here.]

The Carlos Castaneda quote above just reached out to me when I was looking at this piece. The Red Tree here seems to be standing at the edge of the known, the terrestrial world that is defined here with earthy color, solid forms, and dark lines– the lineal universe.  Beyond it the non-lineal universe beckons, represented by a nebulous sky and a sun that acts as an unblinking eye.

It all is very much a metaphor for the purpose of art and that is to act as an intermediary between the known and the unknown, the go-between for that which is of our five senses and those things that go  far beyond those senses.

Things that we feel in an emotional sense.

And that is what art often does, putting the deep feeling of that which we cannot see onto those things that we do see.  It makes the intangible tangible.

That said, I like this new piece and have been enjoying my time with it. Every day I find a new angle within it that gives me pause, that excites me, and sets me thinking. And that is all I hope for in my work.

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There is also a nice article on this week’s edition of Technique Tuesday on the blog of the Principle Gallery, Principlearttalk. This article has to do with the history and use of stylization in art using my work as a contemporary example. It’s a good read.  You can go to this article by clicking on the Technique Tuesday image above or by clicking here.

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“As I Wander”- 12″ x 6″ on canvas

Getting ready for Friday’s opening of “Truth and Belief,” my solo show at the Principle Gallery. As I wrote the other day, I was a little anxious in the first day or so after delivering the show. My confidence lagged a bit.

Thankfully, that has passed and I am actually feeling very good about this show.  From a superstitious standpoint, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but I am truly convinced that this is a good and strong body of work. And from a few images the gallery shared with me yesterday as they were hanging the show that feeling is reinforced.

It has that feeling of rightness that I try to describe so often. And that’s a good thing.

Truth and Belief opens Friday, June 2, at the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The opening reception begins at 6:30 and runs until 9 PM. I hope you can make it. If you do, please feel free to introduce yourself or ask questions. It’s my pleasure to be there at your service.

I put together a short video/slideshow of the paintings in the show. It’s a simple and short glimpse of each piece that I hope gives an idea of how the show fits together. Take a look…

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