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Posts Tagged ‘Maya Angelou’

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“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

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This painting, Nestledown, 18″ by 26″ on paper, is part pf my current show at the West End Gallery, It has the feel of some of my older work with its simple design and spew lines at the edges where the paint has broke free of the picture plane. This gives it a feeling of finding a place of comfort in my eyes, one of security where you can let down your guard a bit.

This feeling is enhanced for me by the multicolored patches of color in the foreground. While they remind me of a patchwork quilt there is something else in the quality of the color that heightens the feeling, something I couldn’t put my finger on for quite some time after I painted this piece. It came to me the other day when I was looking at a book of work by the painter Egon Schiele.

This piece reminded me of one of his paintings, Agony, from 1912, shown here on the right. It shows a person wrapped in a patchwork quilt with a monk laying next to them, his own robe serving as blanket of comfort. As soon as I saw this piece I saw how the oranges, yellows, and reds of its quilt related to the colors in my painting. They provided much the same service in both paintings, creating warmth and security.

I wasn’t surprised by seeing this link. I have long admired the work of Schiele, especially the way he treated his colors, imbuing even the brightest colors with dark undertones. This creates a depth and gravity of feeling that transcends the color itself. This is something I attempted to adapt for my own process many years ago, something that I consider a major turning point in the evolution of my work.

This painting wasn’t consciously in mind when I painted Nestledown but it certainly echoed somehow in memory. And finding comfort in times of trial and agony is a thread that runs through this show. It’s something that hits close to home  both as a nation, as we suffer through the multitude of ills that plague us at present, and as an individual as my family deals with the last days of my father’s life.

We all just want to find a bit of comfort, a place where we can nestle down.

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Now We Know

This quote from the poet Maya Angelou has been floating around for some time. I think it’s a pretty powerful statement of a universal truth, especially on this particular morning.

Though there was never much doubt, we all positively now know what we are dealing with in this country.

Call it what you will– racism, nativism, moral bankruptcy and an ignorance of history along with a general lack of intelligence– but it sure as hell isn’t patriotism. No, this morning the mask is completely off and the barely disguised dog whistles have become megaphones.

And those that respond to the call of that megaphone can no longer claim they don’t know. By standing with this administration, they are revealing who they really are.

And when they show me who they are, I will believe them.

No doubt at all.

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GC Myers Home+Land smThe ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

–Maya Angelou

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This is the title painting, Home+Land,  for my next solo show which opens July 17 at the West End Gallery in Corning.  It’s a pretty large painting at 36″ high  by 48″ wide on canvas and one that fairly represents my feelings on how we are tied to the land, how we identify home with a sense of place.  This is the theme for this show as well as for much of my work in general.

I have long equated the idea of home with the landscape, with how we are shaped by those places that we know from an early age.  The rhythm, the shapes and the perspectives of the landscape that surrounds us becomes part of who we are , something that travels with us throughout our lives. Wherever we go, we look for similarities to that feeling of our home landscape.

It might be in the actual landforms or the way in which the vegetation interacts with the land and the structures of the homes there. It simply looks like home.  Or it might be just in the way the light strikes the land or the rhythm and flow of movement within the landscape that create a level of comfort that equates to that feeling of home.

I know, for myself, that there have been places where I have been where the landscape has been so different from the hills and fields surrounding my original home yet I still feel a sense of being at home.  And there are other places that, while similar in shape and having beauty and charms of their own, leave me uneasy and feeling out of place.  And there are places in which I immediately feel out of place in an alien way, places to which I could never fully adapt.  Definitely not at home.

I guess what I am trying to say is that home is a mix of feeling and place.  It is that place where you feel as comfortable and satisfied in place as the Red Tree in the painting above.

 

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