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Posts Tagged ‘Herman Melville’

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“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

Herman Melville

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Social Distancing, this year’s edition of my annual show of new work, along with some vintage pieces this year, opens tomorrow at the Principle Gallery. It’s in the gallery now and I am enclosing a video slideshow below that previews the show.

As I wrote here recently, this was a tough show to put together, much more difficult than in past years, with plenty of distractions and setbacks. And I think the fact that this was such a hard fought show makes it even more gratifying to see the work in it together as a show.

I think it is the diversity of this show, with its many elements and styles along with the thread of continuity that runs from the early work up to the most recent, that best reflects the multitude of emotional bursts that have marked us a nation in the recent past. Mirroring the highs and lows we are experiencing, there is work that seems darker and foreboding alongside work that is placidly strong and forward looking with hope.

The title, Social Distancing, is definitely a product of this time, an admonition to keep ourselves safe by keeping people away at arms length. Well, maybe not just arms length but six feet, at least. The power of that phrase though is striking because it has pointed out in real terms how much we actually need real human connection to navigate through this world. I would like to think that much of the work in this show displays both the effect of the distance that we are enduring along with the sense of connection we struggle to find in this world. Hopefully, many of us have come to realize that, like the words of Melville at the top, we have a thousand fibers connecting us and that our actions fan out from us, having effects that touch many.

I guess it could be said that even though we might be socially distanced, we can remain spiritually connected. We can still affect others, hopefully in positive ways. Maybe that’s the message I want someone to take from this exhibit.

Maybe not. Hopefully, you will see it in your own way. Those unique interpretations only deepen my gratification.

Here’s the preview. Have a good day.

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Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

–Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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I’m no sailor but I know that feeling, that drizzly November in my soul as Melville wrote. A glumness descends accompanied by an anxiety that cannot be quelled and the idea of being around people sets my jaw hard with my grating teeth. If people still wore hats I am sure I would be aiming to knock them off their heads.

Or worse.

I can’t head to the sea to alleviate my hypos as Melville describes this feeling which I believe is taken from the word hypochondria. No, for me, it is time to try to barricade myself in the studio and pick up my brush which is my equivalent to hoisting the sail.

With brush in hand there is a freedom with no boundaries that can hold me. No rules to follow, no one to tell me what I can or can’t do.

A brush loaded with paint is like a sail filled with a strong wind that will take me anywhere I want to go.

I can create my own sun when it’s gloomy outside or my own moon and stars to guide me through the dark. I can look out on a landscape free of all traces of people and if I occasionally want to see one I can make them far away from me, small and distant.

That keeps me from knocking off their hats.

The hypos seem to be getting the upper hand of me so I think it is high time to pick up my brush and set sail.

But if you see me on the street in the meantime, hold onto your hat.

 

 

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We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.

–Herman Melville

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GC Myers-Interconnected

I guess Melville’s words above pretty much sum up what I see in much of my work, an interconnection between all beings and things that gives every life definition and meaning.  None of us live in a vacuum and every action has an effect of some sort.  Some we see and feel directly and  some, those reactions further out on those sympathetic fibers, we will never know.  It’s the pebble and pond effect.  We throw a pebble into the pond and we see the first large ripple that returns back towards us.  But it doesn’t stop there.  The initial splash continues to radiate outward in all directions, often beyond our sight.

It’s pretty basic stuff.  But that doesn’t make it any less significant.  We are all part of a larger one and the actions of each of us  creates ripples that touch many others.  So consider your actions and your words as they go out into the bigger pond.

The image above is a new painting, a 12″ by 12″ canvas called Interconnected.  It is part of my upcoming solo show, Traveler, at the Principle Gallery, which opens June 6.

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No One Home

No Way Home

Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.

—-Herman Melville

This is a piece that I’ve been working on for the last few days, a 20″ by 24″ canvas.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time just looking at this painting and have felt both happiness and a bittersweet sadness from it.

Perhaps it is that sense of home that many of us seek, that need for a place of our own in the world.   A repository of memories and hopes where we are secure from the prying eyes of the outside world.

There is a real duality in that image, both happy and sad, because the ideal is always fleeting and ephemeral when found.  But still we feel the need to seek.

I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone living outside my head but that is what I see in this piece.  That sense of dual purpose is actually is what I hope for all my work, to have a work pull up conflicting emotions.  I think it heightens the emotional impact, gives contrast to the dominant feeling.

For me, this piece works on those terms.

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