Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Hermann Hesse’

This quote came from Hermann Hesse‘s most famous book, Steppenwolf. A great book but my favorite Hesse book is 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 the void to the viewer. 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, maybe too much for the outer world. In here, in my little inner world of colors and shapes, it sounds right…

*************

This post was from about five years back. I reread it for the first time again this morning and thought it deserved another run.

Read Full Post »

Below is a wonderful essay on what we can learn from listening to trees from Hermann Hesse. The late Nobel Prize winning writer included this in his 1920 book, Wandering: Notes and Sketches. There is a lot to like here but I was most struck by the line: Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

Give it a read for yourself:

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.

Read Full Post »

********************

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but Nature more”

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

********************

This another new painting, coming in at 24″ by 24″ on canvas, that is headed to the Principle Gallery for my annual solo show there. The show,my 20th solo effort at the Alexandria gallery, is titled Redtree: New Growth and opens on June 7. This painting is titled Solitude’s Rapture.

I don’t know if solitude is for everybody. Some people might look at this painting with a little discomfort, seeing in it isolation and loneliness. But for myself, it represents a total freedom of the self, one that allows one’s absolute truth to emerge. A freedom that allows one to experience clear glimpses of our connection with all being.

The lines above from Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage express this feeling well. Alone on a shore, one can begin to hear and converse with nature. The lap and roar of the sea becomes language as does the light of the sun and moon as it sifts through clouds above. It is in these conversations that we come to better understand that we are both small and large, insignificant yet integral.

Of  course, this is not a practical matter for most of us. I have my own little island of solitude here in my studio but I am not isolated. My regular life has me out in the world, interacting with people on a regular basis. But knowing that I will soon be back on my island where the only conversation taking place is in myself.

Hermann Hesse put it well in the excerpt below from his book, Reflections. He mentions it as being a way of bitter suffering. I suppose initially, for those who have been always in the society of others and seldom alone, this may be the case when faced with solitude. But, as he points out, when you get past that discomfort, the rewards of solitude are rapturous.

*********************

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”

Hermann Hesse, Reflections

**********************

Read Full Post »

*

++++++++++++++++++++++

“When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.” 

― Hermann HesseSiddhartha

++++++++++++++++++++++

The painting at the top, The Questioning, is part of Haven, my solo show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The show is nearing the end of its run there so if you would like to see the work please stop in.

Read Full Post »

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves…

Hermann Hesse, Trees: Reflections and Poems

********************************************

The painting at the top is titled The Spirit Tree and is part of my show, Sensing the Unseen, that opens tomorrow at the Kada Gallery. It is 11″ by 15″ on paper.

Trees have always held a firm spot in my heart as symbols of strength, wisdom and calm perseverance. My early memories of childhood often revolved around the black walnut trees in our yard and the hardwoods on the hill behind it. When I was among those trees I felt at home, safely in a realm that moved at pace that was beyond our own idea of time. Ageless.

Even now while the world teeters on the edges of chaos, walking among the trees is a source of great comfort, letting me know that as dire as it may seem this period of time is but a hiccup in the great continuum of the time of trees.

And that is how I look at this piece and the central tree. It stands strong and with an air of ageless wisdom, creating a band of light between the darkness of the earthly dwellings and that of the foreboding sky. As Hesse wrote above, like the most penetrating preacher.

That piece of writing at the top is from Hermann Hesse is from an essay in his book, Trees: Reflections and Poems. It’s a piece of writing that I adore and have posted here before. To read the longer version of this essay  click here.


Sensing the Unseen is now hanging at the Kada Gallery in Erie. The show opens with a reception tomorrow, Friday, December 1, running from 6-9 PM. I will be there to answer your questions or just shoot the breeze. I look forward to seeing and meeting you there.

Read Full Post »

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

**********************

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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

***********************

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

"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

*********************

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.

Read Full Post »

GC Myers- Unpuzzled Hesse QuoteThis quote came from Hermann Hesse‘s most famous book, Steppenwolf. A great book but my favorite Hesse book is 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…

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: