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Posts Tagged ‘Hermann Hesse’

Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future. 
― Hermann HesseSiddhartha

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The painting above is a 30″ by 30″ canvas titled River Angel and is part of my show, Self Determination, that opens tomorrow night at the West End Gallery.

This painting is a continuation on a theme that I have been working in recently, based on the negative space that makes up the river and sky forming a silhouette that reminds me of that of the shape of a stylized flying angel. I did a rough crop of the piece, shown here on the right, that I hope displays what I am talking about. It may not be so evident to you but my eye reads that shape immediately in that way.

Now, as I have stated in past, I don’t know much about angels and can’t attest to their existence or even my own belief in them. I would like to believe that they look over us and that they guide us in some way. There have been days when I could swear they exist, that I have come in touch with them at some moment when I really needed them, but the skeptical part of me tells me it was only coincidence.

But what I do believe is that if there are angels, they would be drawn to the eternal flow of the river, the convergence of the river with the sea and the land and the sky. This great trinity of elements– sea, land and sky– has an inherent grace that just reeks of angels. Well, maybe reeks isn’t the right word but I’m sticking with it for now.

But it is that power and grace that I see in this painting, in the way the three elements come together to create a harmony that calls out to me. Maybe the moon here acts as a halo. Or maybe the Red Tree is the symbolic representation of that River Angel.

Or perhaps the flow of the river into the sea represents the transition from human to the elemental and onto the spirit.

I can’t really say.

But I do sense a place and moment of grace and harmony here, one that, if angels do exist, would be right at home to them.

 

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Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve. 
― Hermann HesseSteppenwolf

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I understand very well the sentiment behind the words above, spoken in the voice of Hermann Hesse‘s character Harry Haller in his novel, Steppenwolf. It is the story of a man who sees himself as both man and wolf, divided by his desire to be part of man’s society yet driven by his wolf’s need to be a solitary, instinctual being. There is a constant inner conflict between the two opposing forces.

Yeah, I understand that very well. I think that many of us do.

I, too, have seen solitude as independence and, like Harry Haller, have sought and to a great degree attained it. Yes, there have been points when it was the stillness that he describes, like soaring through the cold blackness of space. A wondrous vast and empty dome of space.

But with time, that same solitude begins to feel less cold, warmer and more comfortable. It is as thought the time spent alone in that expansive space has drawn you to the gravity of a distant sun. Sharing its light and warmth, it becomes a silent yet reliable and amiable companion. Solitude feels less lonely and begins to feels like a natural condition, comfortable and even homey.

To a great extent, that is how I have found myself. I am grateful for the warmth that solitude now provides. It is a friendly and welcoming place now. Paradoxically, it is when I am among crowds of people that I feel most alone and untethered, like I was desperately floating without direction in the coldest and darkest parts of space.

The new painting above, a 16″ by 12″ canvas that I am calling A Warmer Solitude, represents this sentiment for me. It has an inviting and warm presence with the air of solitude around it.

All I ask.

This piece is part of my solo show, Self Determination, that opens July 14 at the West End Gallery, which has represented my work for 22 years now. This is my 16th or 17th solo show with them and I may be more excited about this show than any other that I can remember. I hope you can make it to the gallery for this show that will be hanging until the end of August.

 

 

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"Heightened Awareness"- GC Myers

“Heightened Awareness”- GC Myers

One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.

Hermann Hesse

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Well, my show, Home+Land, is now hanging at the West End Gallery ahead of this Friday evening’s opening reception.  Feedback has been very strong thus far which alleviates some of the jitters that normally accompany the run-up to any of my shows, something I’ve written about here a number of times in the past.

This period between delivering the show and the opening is always one of uncertainty.  Even though I may feel confident and truly satisfied in the work, in this time period a lingering doubt always seems to rise up that perhaps my perception of the work will not jibe with that of the general public.  After many years and many of these shows, I know this an irrational fear, that how others see the work is beyond my control and so long as I feel that the work speaks honestly and confidently for me there is nothing to worry about.

And that is something that I definitely feel the work does in this show.  I feel completely invested in this show with a certainty that this group is an authentic representation and extension of my work and my self.  For better or worse, it just feels honest.

This was something I found to be true when I was putting together the short video preview below as I wanted to keep it shorter and didn’t want to include everything.  It was difficult deciding which pieces to include and which to leave out– each would add something and none which be out of place.

But in the end I felt pretty good about the group I chose and hope you’ll take a moment to decide for yourself.

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GC Myers- Unpuzzled Hesse QuoteThis quote came from Hermann Hesse‘s book, Demian, which I have referenced here a couple of times in the past.  It was a book that I read at a time when I was at a crossroads in my life and it was very influential in my heading in the direction which led to this point.  I think this quote very much jibes with my perception of the world portrayed in my work, that being that it is a real entity, a real place.

It has as much substance as the outer world to me.   It has depth and layers.  It has breath and light.  It has emotion and its truth comes the fact that it is a precise portrayal of itself– not a replication of the outer world.

It just is.

That may sound nutty or perhaps egotistical to some.  I get that.  But without this belief in the reality of this inner world, the validity of the work to myself comes undone.  It fades to nothingness and certainly doesn’t move across to others.  It loses all meaning for everyone, myself included, without this certainty in its being real.

I’m going to stop at this point.  I may have said too much already.  That is, too much for the outer world.  In here, in my world, it sounds right…

 

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GC Myers- CainI brought up a reference in last week’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery that I would share here again.  It’s about a posting that appeared here about five years ago, one that focused on one of the paintings from my Exiles series from around 1995.  It’s a painting that I would never part with for many reasons but mainly for the meaning it holds for me in changing the course of my life at one point.

In 2008, I wrote:

I thought I’d take a moment and show this painting, Cain, another from the Exiles series that I’ve discussed in past posts.  This is a smallish piece and one of my favorites, one with which  I will never part.

He is based, somewhat, on the biblical story of the original exile, one expelled from his homeland after slaying his brother  to create a new world for himself, never to return.  It is also based on the novel Demian by Hermann Hesse, a book that meant much to me when I went through a trying time years ago.  Actually, it seems a lifetime ago.

In Demian, Hesse uses the mark of Cain as a symbol for those seeking the truth in themselves.  He also discusses the dual nature of man, an idea which has had a very formative aspect in my growth as a painter.  The idea of opposing forces, light and dark,  being contained in one element, one being, always struck a chord in me.  It made sense of the struggles that I observed in myself and many others.

He also made a statement that resonated like a gigantic bell tolling for me.

Whoever wants to be born, must first destroy a world.

Without going into detail, that small sentence was a revelation.  It changed my world forever.

I realize this is a fragmented explanation of this painting and the book that influenced it.  I merely wanted to illustrate what personal meaning some pieces can have for an artist as well the serendipitous nature of moments when art and one’s real life converge.

Maybe I will elaborate in the future.  Maybe not…

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CainI thought I’d take a moment and show this painting, Cain, another from the Exiles series that I’ve discussed in past posts.  This is a smallish piece and one of my favorites, one with which  I will never part.

He is based, somewhat, on the biblical story of the original exile, one sent from his homeland to create a new world for himself, never to return.  It is also based on the novel Demian by Hermann Hesse, a book that meant much to me when I went through a trying time years ago.  Actually, it seems a lifetime ago.

In Demian, Hesse uses the mark of Cain as a symbol for those seeking the truth in themselves.  He also discusses the dual nature of man, an idea which has had a very formative aspect in my growth as a painter.  The idea of opposing forces, light and dark,  being contained in one element, one being, always struck a chord in me.  It made sense of the struggles that I observed in myself and many others.

He also made a statement that resonated like a gigantic bell tolling for me.

Whoever wants to be born, must first destroy a world.

Without going into detail, that small sentence was a revelation.  It changed my world forever.

I realize this is a fragmented explanation of this painting and the book that influenced it.  I merely wanted to illustrate what personal meaning some pieces can have for an artist as well the serendipitous nature of moments when art and one’s real life converge.

Maybe I will elaborate in the future.  Maybe not…

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