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Posts Tagged ‘KADA Gallery’

There’s a lot going on in the next few days, with Thanksgiving stacked on top of a couple of other things including getting work ready for my show at the Kada Gallery that opens next Friday, December 1. Everything seems to racing at a frantic pace around here.

But even so, I took a little time in the darkness of this early morning to stop and savor some work from the great Japanese artist Hiroshige, who lived from 1797 until 1858. Every time I look at his work it feels new and wondrous, with a quality of absolute calm that always soothes. The color is always gorgeous and harmonious while the compositions have an orderliness, even in his treatment of something like the chaos of sea waves, that has a way of setting the viewer’s own internal mechanisms in their proper place and order.

At least that is what it does for me.

Take a few minutes to watch this video of his beautiful work and allow yourself to slow down just a bit this morning.

Everything will find its proper place.

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GC Myers- A Small SerenityWe are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? 

― Swami SatchidanandaThe Yoga Sutras

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I call this new painting, A Small Serenity. It is a tidy 6″ by 12″ canvas that is part of my show, Sensing the Unseen, at the Kada Gallery which opens next Friday, December 1.

It’s a small and simple piece but it has a lovely feeling of tranquility in it, one that far exceeds its humble size. If anything, its dimensions enhance its sense of serene quietness.

And perhaps that is how a contagion of serenity begins, as a small seed within ourselves. A tiny feeling of peaceful tranquility that grows then bursts from us, radiating outward to infect those around us and hopefully through them to others.

And on and on and on.

The cynical part of me knows that such a plague of joy is improbable but looking at this little painting for a moment gives me the serenity to hope and ask,“Why not?” What harm could be done in being kind and calm or in wearing a smile? As the late Swami Satchidananda says above, a smile costs nothing.

So, let’s start this plague today. Shouldn’t we all feel free as birds?

 

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This is a new painting for the upcoming Kada Gallery show that I am calling Mutual Admiration. It’s small ( 4″ by 8″ on paper) and simply constructed but it has what I feel is a very large presence.

It feels bigger than its size to me.

Maybe it’s the immense sense of calm it emits for me. It’s a meditative, tranquil feeling. I feel my blood pressure drop and my heart rate slow just by spending a moment or two looking at this piece.

And that’s a rare thing these days.

The Mutual Admiration comes from the two main elements in this picture. The Red Tree seems to be considering the rows of violet and green, which in turn appear to be returning the admiration as their rows converge near the base of its trunk.

Each sees the beauty, the wonder of the other.

Together, they turn their mutual admiration to the light of the sky that feeds them both and gives them a sense of something greater beyond their own beauty. And in that moment, there is a unity as though the universe recognizes their beauty as its own and embraces it wholly.

And for the time I spend looking at it, I feel a bit better. Comforted. Embraced.

That’s a lot to see in this small piece and maybe you won’t see it that way at all. That’s certainly okay. That is the nature of art.

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This painting below is heading with me to the Kada Gallery as part of my upcoming show. Titled Blood and Bones, it has been shown before and has always drawn a lot of attention and commentary yet has never found a home. For me, it’s a piece that has always resonated deeply, always creating a strong response within me, one that feels deeply primal.

The blood in the title refers to the red of the ground and the way we tie ourselves to a place. The bones refer to the bare trees of winter, symbols of a passing of time and of age, that poke out of the blooded ground. An empty chair represents the ancestral memory that ties it all together.

Maybe it represents my own view on aging now, of my own desire to remain in this world even as I clearly recognize my own mortality, understanding that my remaining time here is limited.

I don’t know if I can briefly explain what I mean. But I think the poem below from Ezra Pound captures what I see and what I think this painting clearly says to me.

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Ancient Music

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm. 

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm. 

Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ‘gainst the winter’s balm. 

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM. 

Ezra Pound

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“No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people’s eyes, to reveal the marvels around.”

-Paolo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

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This is a new painting that is headed to the Kada Gallery in a couple of weeks for my show there, opening December 1. I call it The Lantern Is Lit and it is an 18″ by 24″ canvas.

Light is a big part of being a visual artist. You deal with the nature of light, using light and dark to create images. Color itself is light. There is also the symbology of light with the contrast of light and dark representing many things– good and evil, beginnings and  endings, life and death, etc.

Light in this painting is very much a symbol, one of a revealing of wonders. It symbolizes an awakening from a darkness in which we have spent much of our time sleepwalking, just following others and bumping along without much consideration of our own will and desire. We simply take what is directly in front of us in the darkness.

The lantern here is a rising sun that reveals an expanding world beyond our own closed-off one that exists in shadow. Those field rows we have mindlessly worked for so long finally move out to a far horizon with distant hills and fields that have yet to be worked, have yet to be shaped. To a place that allows for expansive thinking, a place to remake ourselves, a place to see the wonders of the world in a bright and direct light.

That’s what I see in this painting– a revealing of light that pulls us from out of shadow.

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Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. 
Seneca

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Every beginning has an end. Every end is a new beginning.

Those are the thoughts that come to mind for me when I look at this new painting that I am calling Omega Tree which is part of my show, Sensing the Unseen that opens on December 1 at the Kada Gallery.

It’s a paradoxical feeling, one that is saddened by the ending of one thing yet also gladdened by the start of another. And I see that here as my eye moves upward from the bottom. There are bare purplish mounds that would normally support other trees in much of my work, something that hints of something missing. Something has happened that has taken away those other trees.

Going up through the picture, the ground is covered with snow. Wintry and cool, the end of the growing year and the precursor to the coming spring. And atop the highest mound stands a single tree that has persevered. It is an evergreen whose end has not yet come and it is a beginning to something new in this place.

And at the top is the moon/sun that seems to us endless. Yet we know that it also has an ending at some point well beyond our own. For now, it witnesses our new beginning in this place.

It’s an odd little piece, this 16″ by 8″ canvas. It feels like a warning of some kind of environmental catastrophe while simultaneously reminding us that we have a place in the cycle and rhythm of the universe. A cool foreboding of an end along with a warm greeting to a new beginning.

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And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
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This is a new painting, 18″ by 24″ on panel, that is the title piece for my upcoming show, Sensing the Unseen, at the Kada Gallery that opens December 1. I think it’s a fitting painting to share it’s name with the show.

I have long held the belief that art is about revelation, about making the invisible visible.

Creating the intangibles such as hope and wonder. Or awe or a sense of belonging or of self-empowerment or so many other feelings and emotions. Revealing these unseen intangibles is what art can and should do.

It’s a lofty and often evasive goal. The harder one tries specifically to do just that, to create these intangibles, the further one moves from that goal.

In my experience, it only happens when you can release yourself into the work, letting your mind focus on each element in each moment. Finding the rhythm and voice, one individual moment at a time. One stroke, one line, leads to the next and if you allow yourself to follow the guidance being given by what is in front of you, slowly the gap between the visible and the invisible closes, that gap suddenly filled with an emotion, a feeling that gives voice to the work.

This particular painting fits into that idea for me, filling me with the wonder I get from a full moon’s light on a snow covered landscape. The way the light is cast on the reflective snow creates a sense of something new in the familiar. The scene you’ve witnessed day after day takes on a different feel, filled with a paradoxical sense of mystery and revelation that comes from new shadows and new light.

You can almost sense the quiet as all sound is hushed and absorbed by the snow. It’s a quiet that reminds you of the stillness that you imagine your ancestors knew well in earlier times when there were fewer people and machines. And from that quiet a feeling of peacefulness and security arises to accompany that initial sense of wonder.

And suddenly the simple arrangement of paint and lines and shapes becomes something more. Complete and a thing unto itself. The intangible made tangible.

And that in itself becomes a wonder to me…

 

 

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“How fathomless the mystery of the Unseen is! We cannot plumb its depths with our feeble senses – with eyes which cannot see the infinitely small or the infinitely great, nor anything too close or too distant, such as the beings who live on a star or the creatures which live in a drop of water… with ears that deceive us by converting vibrations of the air into tones that we can hear, for they are sprites which miraculously change movement into sound, a metamorphosis which gives birth to harmonies which turn the silent agitation of nature into song… with our sense of smell, which is poorer than any dog’s… with our sense of taste, which is barely capable of detecting the age of a wine!

Ah! If we had other senses which would work other miracles for us, how many more things would we not discover around us!”

Guy de Maupassant, The Horla

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Yesterday I finished the painting above, a 12″ square canvas that is scheduled to head to the Kada Gallery in Erie for my show, Sensing the Unseen, that opens there on December 1. It’s a piece that feels faithful to the theme of the Kada show– that there are energies and forces swirling around us that are imperceptible to our senses. I’ve often felt that one of the purposes of art is to give these forces shape and form.

To make the unseen visible.

And I think this painting is a good example of that thought. Its simple forms, lack of detail and sparse narrative elements might seem an unlikely setting for the unveiling of  hidden forces.

Or maybe these things make it the perfect setting for doing such a thing. Distraction is stripped away. The whiteness of the moon at the horizon becomes a central point of focus. The lightness of the landscape (is that snow?) and the path push the eye further inward, past the windowless houses that seem to act as boundary markers between the known and the unknown. There is a created sense of depth and space that belies the tight dimensions of the picture plane. It all makes you feel as though there is something ponderous, something that begs to be known in that space.

Even the color creates a mysterious paradox. It feels cold with the whiteness of the snow and the moon (or is it a sun?) yet the underlying magenta makes it feel warm. It seems perilous and cold yet still feels warm and inviting. It pushes away and pulls in.

Or it’s just a simple little snowy landscape.

I chose its title, Mystery of the Unseen, from the paragraph at the top taken from a short story, The Horla, from the French master of the short story, Guy de Maupassant. It’s a horror story describing how an unseen alien force– an extraterrestrial– inhabits a man, controlling his mind with the intent of conquering humanity. It was the last story he wrote before being committed to a sanitarium, where he died.

I guess that’s the dark side of the unseen.

Hardly the feeling I experience in this painting.

 

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It’s kind of last minute, but I will be doing one more solo exhibit this year.  It will be called Sensing the Unseen and will open Friday, December 1, hosted once more by my friends at the Kada Gallery. The show will run through the end of the year.

I said that it’s kind of last minute because even though I had been tentatively planning on an event at the Kada Gallery, we weren’t sure it would come about due to  health concerns on the part of the owners of the gallery, Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, which limited many gallery activities for much of the past year. As much as I wanted to have another show there, I really didn’t want it if it created an overly stressful workload for either of them.

The Kada Gallery was the first gallery outside my home area to represent my work, back in the first months of 1996. Over the past nearly 22 years, Kathy has been a fervent advocate for my work and has created an inviting landing spot for my work in an area that is probably off the radar of many artists. She takes the work very seriously and her earnest excitement for the work comes through loud and clear when she speaks about it. She has hosted a number of extremely successful shows for me and some of my most avid collectors have started their collections in this gallery.

But more than that, Kathy and Joe treat me like family there which makes me want to do even more for them in my work and my shows for them. So, I view this show as an important thing for my friends there and myself, one that gets my full attention. I am excited for this show and think it will live up, and hopefully exceed, past shows. I have a few things up my sleeve that I think will do just that.

So, pencil it in on your calendar: Sensing the Unseen opening December 1 at the Kada Gallery. Hope you can make it!

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teenage-werewolfFirst, let me extend thanks to everyone who came out to the show at the Kada Gallery on Saturday night.  It was great seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones.  And thanks to Kathy and Joe at the Kada for their longtime friendship and encouragement–you provided me with a wonderful night.  If you didn’t make it out there, you can still see the show as it hangs until December 3.

Now, today is yet another Halloween.  It doesn’t have the same impact on me now as it did when I was much younger but I still get a kick out of this  night and all the goofiness around it.  And I have to say that the imagery that swirls around this night was very influential to me when I was a kid.  You often see macabre imagery show itself in the work of student artists.

So in honor of this most hallowed evening, I thought I’d throw out some scary music but there isn’t a great selection of monster themed music.  Oh, there’s the Monster Mash but that gets played to death this time of the year, much like Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer at Christmas.  And the Addams Family or Munsters themes are memorable but not what I’m looking for.

cramps-bad-music-for-bad-peopleBut there are the Cramps.

The Cramps emerged out of the NY punk scene of the 70’s with a distinct sound  that influenced by rockabilly and the B-Horror movies of the 50’s.  Two guitars and a small drum kit- no bassist- and a leader called Lux Interior and a girl guitarist/femme fatale named Poison Ivy, the Cramps’ music was often called psychobilly.  Many of their songs paid direct homage to old horror flicks, like Human Fly and the one I’m highlighting here, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, which starred  a very young Michael Landon in a pretty kitschy story.  It might not be high art but the Cramps created some high energy creep-tastic stuff, very appropriate for a most inappropriate night.

Below I Was a Teenage Werewolf I’ve included their even more creepy TV Set.  Give a listen and have yourself a very spooky night.

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