Posts Tagged ‘Mary Cassatt’

Cheri and I made our way to Cooperstown this past Saturday to see my exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum.  Cheri  had not yet seen it and also wanted to see the American Impressionists show before it comes down on the 16th of September as well as the paintings of folk portraitist William Matthew Prior.  Both of those shows were wonderful, particularly the Prior exhibit which gave a broader view of his work and the world in which he painted.

But  we there to mainly take in my show there, of course.  It’s always a strange feeling going into a space filled with your work.   I remember the first time I had a solo show at the Principle Gallery back in 2000.  When we came into the gallery, the work that filled the space seemed to surround and overwhelm us.  Both Cheri and I felt a bit nauseous at first, as though it were just too much to absorb.  I still periodically get that little bit of  a tremble in the gut when confronted with a roomful of my work and I did feel it just a bit on Saturday.

But Cheri’s response to the work took away any tension I was feeling.  Her eyes opened very wide and her face glowed as she came to the top of the grand staircase and spotted the painting that was framed perfectly in the doorway to my exhibit.  We went into the space and she turned, taking in all the walls with a glance, a broad smile on her face.

“Amazing.  It’s perfect.”

That was all I needed to hear.  I was happy as I could possibly at that moment.  I have often kidded that she is often my harshest critic but that is simply the result of a directness and honesty that comes from 35 years of marriage.  I trust her opinion and her glowing approval set aside any apprehension that might have been lingering.  I began to take in the work without worry.

For me, it was most satisfying seeing the very large painting, The Internal Landscape, shown at the top center here.  I had never seen it hang on a wall, especially  with the beautiful lighting and atmosphere that this space offered.  It was all that I hoped it would be on the wall and my eyes kept coming back to it.  The rhythm of the piece really rang out in that space and seemed to connect with all of the other pieces that surrounded it.  The works there seemed to be alive on the walls and there is a really nice warmth and continuum running through this group of work that seems to envelop you when you enter the gallery.  That’s a nice feeling and I think it’s a great representation of  my work to this point.

It was also interesting to go back into the gallery after taking in the work of the Impressionist masters that took up the adjoining larger gallery space.  I initially was a bit afraid that my work would not fit well, would be overwhelmed by this work.   I mean, there is gorgeous work there from Mary Cassatt, Hassam , Glackens and Willard Metcalf— all painters that I have long admired.  It is a bit intimidating.  But coming back into my gallery, Cheri commented how well my work held up next to their’s and I realized that I didn’t feel as out of place with my work there as I thought I might.  In fact, I no longer felt intimidated in the least.

I hope that doesn’t sound egotistical.  It’s certainly not meant to be and I would never put myself up to the level of the  time-tested masters.  But leaving the museum that day, I felt as though I had fully shown that my work had its own truly  individual voice, one that had the same validity and integrity as the work of any painter.  That was a good feeling on a very good day.

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My exhibition, Internal Landscapes: The Paintings of GC Myers, has officially opened at the Fenimore Art Museum in lovely Cooperstown, NY.  The exhibit hangs until the end of the year, December 31.  It’s a select group of mostly larger paintings from the last few years along with a few very early small pieces that show the beginning stages of the evolution of my work.

One of the highlights for me is the first public showing of the piece shown above, The Internal Landscape, a painting familiar to regular readers of this blog.  It is a very large painting, measuring 54″ high by 84″ wide.  This large scale gives it  a real presence in any space.

If you can make it to the Fenimore in the next month, the exhibit hanging in the adjacent gallery is American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life, which is a grand collection of paintings from the likes of Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam and William Merritt Chase.  And if you’re looking for real star power, there’s even a piece from one of the most influential Impressionists, Claude Monet.  Plus there are several other great exhibits not to mention the incredible Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, which is worth the trip on its own.  I’m pretty excited to be in such grand company.

On November 7, I will be giving a talk on show after a luncheon, from 12:30 until 2:30,  as part of the museum’s Food For Thought lecture series.

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Yesterday, there was a guest blog on the Huffington Post from Paul D’Ambrosio, who heads the New York State Historical Association which contains the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown.

It’s a really interesting insight into what it takes for a museum in a fairly remote area to thrive, to be a vibrant presence that attracts a wide audience.  As I’ve noted  here, I have an exhibit, Internal Landscapes: The Paintings of GC Myers, opening at the Fenimore in August so I read with interest as D’Ambrosio recounted how the museum has grown in the past few years with heady choices for its exhibits including recent shows featuring the work of John Singer Sargent,  Edward Hopper and an American Impressionists show featuring works from Mary Cassatt (and one from Monet) which is now there.  These shows have drawn wide coverage from the  press and have helped attract museum-goers from distant locales to the museum to take in these shows there as well as its formidable permanent collections of Native American Art,  Amercian Folk Art and Hudson River paintings.  This mixture of a great permanent collection and intriguing new exhibits make the Fenimore a very attractive destination, one that the USA Today called one of the 10 Great Places to See Art in Smaller Cities.

Check out the article and, if you can, the museum and Cooperstown’s other charms as well.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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I have mentioned here that my work will be the subject of an exhibition at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown , NY next year, running from August 17 through December 31, 2012.  I had not been at the museum for many, many years so last week Cheri and I decided to pay a visit to both see the space where the exhibit will be hung and to see the museum as a whole.

I haven’t been to Cooperrstown in quite a while but from the moment I enter this little gem of a village I remember how much I like the place.  I’ve used the word idyllic several times recently here but must use it again to describe the atmosphere of this village built around the southern end of Lake Otsego, the lake famously referred to as Glimmerglass by James Fenimore Cooper, a name that now graces the renowned seasonal operatic company that resides there, the Glimmerglass Opera.  It is just a lovely  place especially in the quieter days of late autumn when the tourist trade is a bit slower and the beauty of the place shines through. 

Turning by the grand Otesaga Hotel, you head north up the west side of Lake Otsego and come quickly to the museum, resting on a slight rise above the lake.  The museum was built on the former site of the James Fenimore Cooper farmhouse and across the road is the famed Farmer’s Museum with its beautiful stone barns and outbuildings. 

I can’t really tell you how impressed I was with the museum, from the moment I entered the front doors  until the moment we drove away.  It is a truly beautiful space that is maintained to the highest standards.  We met with with Paul D’Ambrosio who we have known for many years and who is the President of the museum.  He gave us a tour through the galleries, giving us an education on many of the pieces.  For instance, the piece shown to the right, Eel Spearing at Setauket from William Sidney Mount, is considered the painting which serves as the face of the Fenimore Collection.  We were told that the lady in the painting from 1845 still has family that lives near the site of this painting on Long Island and that they periodically make the pilgrimage to the museum to visit their now famous ancestor.

After seeing most of the collections, including the  fabulous Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, we finally made our way to the galleries on the second floor and came to the East Gallery, where next year’s exhibit will be held.  I was a bit nervous with anticipation, to tell the truth.  But finally seeing the space and visualizing my paintings in the space helped settle my nerves.  The space is neither small nor large but has a sense of intimacy that I think will serve my work well.  There is a fireplace at one end that I could see my work easily hanging above.  The anxiousness of the unknown faded away and the actual idea of how the show might look began to take its place.  I now had sometihing tangible on which  to build the show.  A different sort of anxiety set in but it is the kind I often have before any show so I view it as an old friend who will ultimately help me in my task.

We talked for a bit about wall colors for the show which I hadn’t even considered.  I began considering colors that will push the work forward off the walls and accentuate the color in my work.  As we were leaving, Paul told me that my show would ne hanging at a great time next year as the show  hanging at that time in the other upstairs gallery would be an exhibit of American Impressionism featuring Mary Cassatt.   They would have a Monet, as well, to show his influence on the American painters.  He said there would be great crowds in the late summer for that show and would be great exposure for my exhibit.

So, we departed and I drove through the rain of that day with new concepts of how the work in the exhibit would relate to the space and to each other.  I began to have second thoughts about some pieces that I had originally thought might be perfect and paintings that I had dismissed began to come back into play.  The visit and the tremendous quality of the space and the works there raised the bar for what I wanted from my own work.  The task now seemed larger than before and I knew that I would have to really focus in order to make it work as I know it can.

In short, it was a good visit.  Thanks for the wonderful tour, Paul!

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