Posts Tagged ‘Memory’

GC Myers- Suffering MemoryJust remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
You forget some things, don’t you?
Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road


 Much of my work concerns itself with our memory, how we perceive our past and how the memory of that past affects our present and our future.  It often seems a treasure, this memory, but it also comes with the price of suffering as well.  After all, the word nostalgia is created from two Greek roots, nostos which means return and algos which means pain or grief.

We suffer in our desire to return.

I see that feeling in this new piece, an 11″ by 15″ painting on paper that I call Suffering Memory.  There is something in the color and the placement of the elements that has a bittersweet quality much like that feeling of looking back through time to a point that you know is long gone and will never come again.

You desire a return but too much has changed–  knowledge gained, the self revealed and innocence lost.

The strong chaos of the texture underneath gives this piece an effect that I think adds to the distance of the memory felt.  The texture acts as a distorting agent which represents the natural distortion that time casts over all of our memories. As we all know, while we would like to think that memory is an absolute truth, time often seems to bend it even further from reality.

The texture here creates areas of light and dark that represent for me the alternating facets of memory’s truthfulness.  While it would be nice to have all memories be completely faithful to the absolute truth of the moment, it is that texture, that flawed recall of our memory that gives it the meaning that it holds for us.

In reality, nothing is seldom as good or as bad as we remember.  But that doesn’t really matter because it is not the truth to which we react.  It is our memory of it, our personal version of that truth with its own color and texture that affects us, that causes us to suffer the memory.

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GC Myers-Memory Way smEvery man’s memory is his private literature.

-Aldous Huxley


As I have stated in the past here, the Red Chair, an icon that often appears in my work, is a symbol to me of people and places and experiences from the past.  In short, my memory.  In this new piece, Memory Way, that is most certainly the case.  This little painting, 2″ by 5″ on paper, is another of my pieces from the Little Gems exhibit which opens Friday at the West End Gallery.

The road here represents to me the continuum of time.  The landscape is almost idyllic, perhaps representing my tendency to block out the worst parts of memory.  At least, to downplay them and keep them in the background and to put what good there was there in the best possible light.  I like to revisit the past occasionally and I have to make it a place where I am comfortable.  A past filled with nothing but dark and fear-filled memories is no place to venture on a regular basis.

Anyway, this little piece makes me happy and fills my mind with a feeling of good memories.  As Huxley said  above, our memory is our own private literature, filled with the memories of our lives and the lives of our ancestors.  I sometimes edit, embellish and redact my life’s literature, all to make it an interesting read for myself.

That’s what I see in this little guy.

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This small painting is titled Seat of Memory.  It’s a new piece on paper that measures about 6″ by 8″ and is due to be part of my upcoming show, Now and Then,  at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  The show opens June 10.

The title of this piece and  show  refers to memory, a subject that has often been portrayed in my work recently.  Memory and history are often interchangeable in my thinking as I view both as that thread, that continuum, that ties our present and past.  That which gives our now definition and perspective.  The list of ingredients, the recipe, for the concoction we call the present time.

You hear a lot of people say that one must live only in the present and I see the wisdom in that.  But I think there is value in holding on to and examining that thread of memory and history, if only to see those patterns in our behaviors that remain consistent over time so we can avoid making the same mistakes over and over, in the present and in the future.  There’s a great quote on this but I can’t remember the exact quote or even whose words they are.  It goes something like: He who disregards history lives every day as a child.  Every step is a new step.  Every discovery a new discovery.  Every stumble a new stumble.

I view my painting as a way of bringing the past into a perpetual now.  I want them to always feel as they portray the present but are firmly rooted in a visible history.  By that I mean that I want people to see the work with childish eyes of discovery, as though it feels completely new to them.  But at the same time I want them to feel a sense of familiarity in the work.  Maybe the familiarity of a shared history, common memory.

I don’t know if that’s something I can do with my work.  I don’t even know if that’s something I should be trying to accomplish.  But when I look at a simply put piece like the Seat of Memory it gives me hope that maybe I am on the right road.

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This is a new painting that is called Vestige of Memory.  It’s a modestly sized piece on paper, a 5″ by 19″ image on paper that frames out at 12″ by 26″.  It’s part of my upcoming show, Facets, at the Principle Gallery.

I’ve always been interested in how our memory functions, how we organize and determine the importance of memories within our minds.  How we determine what remains intact and seemingly vital to us and how we figure out what gets tucked away in some distant corner or simply flies away.   Why do some innocuous moments remain vital in our memories while other more important ones seem to have no place there?

Is there a collective memory among us as a species, ingrained remembrances that give us our instinctual reactions?  If so, do we add to it even now?

Those are just a few of the questions that come to mind when I see this piece.  It’s a simple composition yet it says a lot with the little it possesses.  Perhaps it’s the motion of the tree or the fleeting leaves. Maybe it’s the hints of color in the background sky or the texture there that hints at some unknown entity or knowledge  that we can only see as chaos.   Maybe it’s the simple red chair, signifying a matter of importance, something to be held close.

Or maybe it’s just a chair on a mound as the wind blows a tree. 

It’s all a matter of perception…

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