Posts Tagged ‘Gil Shaham’


“When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.”

Wisława Szymborska, Poems New and Collected


“When I pronounce the word Silence, I destroy it…”

I love that line from the late Nobel Prize winning poet Wisława Szymborska. It so well sums up my own forays into writing as a young man when I found myself trying futilely to write about silence and places of silence. My words always seemed to defeat my purpose.

You can’t really write about silence.

Using words to describe silence is like using hate to demonstrate love or war to peace.  It doesn’t really work well.

No, you can’t write about silence.

You can only be silent.

Silence is a way of being.

That brings me to the painting shown above called Song of Silence.

This painting, Song of Silence, is being included along with a small group of vintage pieces in my upcoming show, Social Distancing, that opens at the Principle Gallery on June 5. Most of the early work for this show comes the mid 1990’s but this is the latest of the vintage pieces, from 2007.

It is a fairly large piece at 32″ x 32″ on paper and its size seems to accentuate its quietness. I did a number of similar pieces in the mid 2000’s and they were some of my favorites to paint. There was something special in the delicacy and restraint of these pieces. Their simplicity would lead you to believe they were simple to paint but capturing such an ephemeral feelings with minimal elements made them real challenges. Anything even slightly askew could make the whole thing fall apart.

For me personally, when these pieces worked, when they came together in that special way, they felt like magic. They transported me to a different state of being, to that place of silence, if only for a few short moments.

This is one of those pieces for me.

It’s been quite a while since I exhibited this type of work and I am eager to see what sort of response this brings in the gallery.  We’ll see.

The title, Song of Silence, seems like it might contradict my words at the beginning of this post but wordless music often has the ability to convey silence. As an example I am including a selection below from one of my favorite pieces of music, Tabula Rasa, from composer Arvo Pärt that I believe does this effectively. This music, as performed by violinist Gil Shaham, served as a large influence on much of my early work.


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Sustenance-- GC Myers

Maybe it’s the gray paintings that I’ve been working on lately.  Or maybe it’s just the unseasonably cool morning with the temperatures in the mid-40’s.  Or maybe it’s a somewhat contrarian nature.  Whatever the case, I find myself this morning longing for cold weather and gray skies and flecks of snow gathering on the grass that has lost much of its green.  The feel of a sharp wind  on the cheek like a reviving slap.  The harsh bones of the leafless trees in silhouette against the slate sky.  The absolute quiet of the forest, save the creak of the trees swaying in the cold breeze.

I know that for many this sounds absurd.  Most want to bask in the summer heat.  Most want to feel the adolescent charm of days spent shoeless under a relentless sun. 

 Easy days.

Not so for winter.  Maybe that’s what I like.  Winter gives you nothing.  No warmth. No sustenance. No cover.  What you take from winter is a hard fought victory and that makes it all the sweeter.  Anyone can  feel the carefree lure of summer.  But winter drives off those unwilling to endure its own special charms. 

Cold, refreshing charms…

Here’s a wonderful version of  the Winter section from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by violinist Gil Shaham to get you into the winter mood…

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