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Posts Tagged ‘New Work’



“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd – The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”

― Fernando Pessoa



This is another piece from the Little Gems show that opens Friday at the West End Gallery. Its title is What Might Have Been which comes from the feeling of regret or nostalgia or, at least, retrospection that I feel in it. Those are feelings that I think most of have dealt with in some form. Hopefully, they don’t overwhelm our lives in the present.

For all my psychological foibles, glitches and tics, I don’t live with a lot of regrets. I understand that the consequential decisions– good and bad– that I have made in my life were my decisions and were made with the belief that I had the best information available in making those decisions. Of course, I was wrong in some cases, but that doesn’t change the fact that I accept the blame and responsibility for the results that came from my decisions. 

I am here now and that’s all that matters. 

Spending too much time on what ifs and what might have beens seems like a giant waste of time and energy. And the amount of time and energy I wasted early in my life might be the main regret I have when looking back. So why waste more looking back and fretting over it?

But I have to admit that I do look back. It’s not out of remorse or nostalgia. It’s more out of curiosity, to discover the patterns and flows that brought me to this point. To observe and learn the lessons that are undoubtedly there so that I don’t repeat the mistakes and can possibly build on the successes.

And to try to figure out where I came from and who and what I am.

That is, of course, my perspective on the past and on this painting. It’s based on my own life and experiences.

Your own experiences might draw you closer to the past, might fill you with more regrets and remorse for what has taken place in that past. We all deal with the world and our place in it in our own way and if revisiting your past fills your days, it is not my place to tell you to not do that. That is your decision. 

But I would advise you to try to live at least equally in the present time, trying to leave the traumas behind and to glean some lesson from that past to bring forward with you to make your future days more livable. 

Funny how a small painting can open so many gateways to thought. There’s so much more I could write about what I take from this simple little painting based on the cues it engages within me. And, if it is a successful piece that comes to life, it engages the feeling and minds of others.

Maybe that’s the purpose of art, to create a shorthand of emotion that speaks to a wide variety of people and their own distinct experiences without relying on the specificity of language.

I don’t know. I have work to do so I am not going to dwell on it now. 

Have a good day.



The quote at the top is from the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, whose work I have only become aware of and a fan of in the past few years. I have written about him a couple of times here, most notably in reference to my Multitudes series a couple of years back.

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Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

The Ballad of East and West, Rudyard Kipling



Showing another new Little Gem from the West End Gallery show, this one titled Across the Divide.

The title refers to the the river that separates the two opposing shores. There is a political commentary implied in the blue and red of the two shores representing the colors of the political divisions here in the US.

There’s a lot of talk about the need for unity, about how we need to come together as a nation, but it seems as though there is a wide and mighty river between us, one that may never be traversed.

Like the opening line from the Kipling poem– and never the twain shall meet.

I would like to think that there is common ground that we share as citizens of this nation but it’s had to see at the moment. That river looks pretty darn wide.

I was about to start on a spiel about the need for compromise but I am going to skip it. Most of you out there who read this are intelligent people who understand compromise and how important its place is in big country with a wide variety of people. You know that everybody doesn’t get exactly what they want all the time, that we all have to sacrifice at some point for the greater good.

Sometimes we give and sometimes we get, depending on our needs and situations. 

And that is a simple, workable concept until you factor in ignorance, racial hatred, and greed.

Then things go awry and you get to this point where we are now, with a wide and deep river running between us. 

I still have hope and I see it in this piece. There’s too many things here that unite us if we only allow to set aside our biases, judgements, and prejudices.

I know that’s asking a lot but is it, really?

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“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

― Edgar Allan Poe, Eleonora



This is another new small piece that is headed to the West End Gallery this weekend. I am finally hitting some responsive chords in my work and feeling a new creative flow building which is reassuring. This recent work has felt great coming out, free and easy without having to stuggle, and I think it shows in the work itself.

It’s all work that appeals to my own sense of what I want to see. 

Maybe what I need to see right now.

That I can’t answer. But this feels good and right so I am pretty happy in the moment.

I am calling it Hold Back the Night after a  favorite song from the 70’s, a cover by Graham Parker and the Rumour of the song of that title which was originally recorded by the Trammps a few years earlier. Very upbeat which matches my current view for my work in the near future.

As I said, pretty happy in the moment.

Of course, tomorrow might be a different story. So, for today, I am going to take in the colors and forms and sing along with Graham. Hope you’ll do the same. Have a good one but be careful out there.



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Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

–Let’s Go Fly a Kite, Richard and Robert Sherman

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I thought it might be time start showing some work from my upcoming solo show, From a Distance, that opens July 15 at the West End Gallery in Corning. There are definitely different takes on a variety of themes in this show so deciding which piece should kick off the process was tough. But given the many current events– or should I say disasters?– taking place in this country, I thought the painting here at the top would be a gentle starter.

The idea of flying a kite seems so much more preferable than going into the closet and screaming into the darkness.

The title of this piece is Let’s Go Fly a Kite, borrowed, of course, from the song of that name from the 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins. It’s a wonderful song that aptly captures the idea of putting aside your problems and releasing yourself to soar with your kite high above and far removed from worldly problems. I hope that is what one gets from this piece, whose image is sized at 10″ by 16″ and framed and matted at 16″ by 22″.

I never saw Mary Poppins as a kid nor did I read the books. I came to both in middle age, actually. But even so, the magic of both remained intact.  a few years back I came across a large single volume that contained all of author  P.L. TraversMary Poppins books and decided that it might be worth reading. I am glad I did. It was funny and touching and engaging on many levels. Just a great read. Made me regret not being interested in them as a kid.

I thought I would share the song here but decided to not show the one from the film. Instead, I am taking the version from another Disney film, Saving Mr. Banks. This film, starring Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, is the story of how Disney wooed the crusty Travers who was dead set against him making her book into a movie. She steadfastly opposed every and any change to her baby and thought the idea of a Disney musical treatment of her story was beyond the pale.

This version comes at a point in the Saving Mr. Banks film where she is near making a decision to withhold the filming rights from Disney. She is called into the work studio of the Sherman Brothers, the legendary songwriting team that wrote  many of the best known Disney tunes along with scores of other songs for other artists. Up to this point, Travers has been disdainful of their work that they have previously presented her for the film and in a final attempt to sway her, they perform the song Let’s Go Fly a Kite for her.

It’s a lovely turning point in the film and a nice version of the song as well. So, for a while at least, put aside thoughts of pandemics, of racial divides, of a treasonous and derelict president and all the other horrors that come as part and parcel of the current apocalypse, and think about the giddy thrill of watching your kite take to the air.

Soar with it for a bit. Or a little longer, if need be.

 

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Aah, the work was delivered to the Principle Gallery yesterday for the show, Social Distancing, that opens this coming Friday, June 5, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.

I say aah because there is always a sense of relief once the work has left my hands and is in the gallery. I’ve done what I can and it’s out of my hands.

But the aah this year might be even larger than in any other year. Completing this year’s show was hard fought struggle within myself. The number of distractions was huge as you all know. It has been a trying time for all of us between an impeachment, a pandemic that has delivered over 100 thousand deaths thus far not to mention vast job losses and an economic uncertainty that most certainly see us in a recession, if a depression, for the coming years along with the violent eruption of a long simmering volcano of unequal justice and economic opportunity for people of color. Factor into that a money grab by the wealthiest among us from the pandemic relief funds and you have a hot and messy stew cooking.

This might well be a year without parallel in the memories of most of us and maybe in the history of this country. We are a nation at great stress right now.

So to get my little bit of business out of the way, to be able to push all this aside and do work that was strong and meaningful in my own eyes was a different sort of task than in any of the previous 21 years of doing this show. Maybe the show of 2002, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, would be the closest parallel but that at that time we didn’t have a deadly virus or the same sort of raw internal rips in our society that we are experiencing now as a nation. In retrospect, that time seemed like a light appetizer for the heavy meal, that hot and messy stew, on our table at this moment.

But, as far the show, it is there now and I think it’s a damn fine show. I can’t think of a piece in it that that I would want to omit or change. I think every painting in it has its own strength that shows. I hope you will get a chance to get into the gallery to see it or at least take a look at the exhibit document from the Principle Gallery when it’s released in a few days.

I have to say that another bit of relief was the great ease I experienced in the delivery yesterday. In the many, many trips down to Alexandria I have made over the past 23 years, yesterday was by far the easiest ride I have ever made. The traffic was exceedingly light and the weather absolutely perfect. The delivery itself went smoothly and quickly. Every aspect of the day was easy.

I came home, as usual through central Pennsylvania. If you don’t know the area, the route runs above Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River, and is a lovely area with a rural feel marked by the farms and horse-drawn buggies of the many Amish and Mennonite farmers along the way. But it is also a deeply conservative area, a hotbed of far right ideology. Lots of guns, pickups and camo clothing. Lots of evangelical billboards and, strangely,quite a few weird little, windowless porn shops that always seem to have more than a few cars in front of them.

It’s a big Trump area. Yeah, I wrote that name– can taste the ashes in my mouth. Some businesses have it scrawled across the face of their buildings and you see quite a few of his campaign signs . There was even one guy, with a big gut and a tight white tee shirt, selling Trump merchandise by the side of the busy road. No buyers when I passed him, thankfully. But one thing I noticed in a few places were signs in the neighboring yards of those the yards that had Trump signs. The signs simply said “Be Kind” as though these neighbors wanted to somehow counter the meaning that was implicit in the signs of their neighbors.

That small gesture gave me the slightest glimpse of hope.

Coming home, I came through Lewisburg, a town that is best known as the home of Bucknell University. Coming into town after passing Bucknell, I came to traffic light at the intersection of the two main roads running through the area.  At each of the four corners there were quite a few people gathered holding signs and gesturing to the traffic. Coming to a stop at the red light, I realized that it was a Black Lives Matter protest, much like the other protests taking place around the nation.

It was a diverse group with many white faces– this is central PA, after all– but a large number of people of color as well. They were peaceful and wore their masks and kept distance as well as they could. I gave them the thumbs up and many returned the gesture. As I drove away I gave a young black woman the thumbs up and she gave me a clenched fist held high above her head in response.

I can’t tell you how much those small gestures made my day. That group of peaceful protesters in such a conservative part of that state gave me the hope that there might be real change ahead for us as a nation, that we will push past this moment and vanquish the forces of division and inequality that are at work right now.

Maybe that’s what the painting at the top reflects. Part of the show, it’s a 10″ by 20″ canvas that is called And the Clouds Will Pass…

That’s how I want to see it.

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“Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.” 
 Salman RushdieThe Satanic Verses

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This was a small piece that was began yesterday. I had finished a new painting that very much pleased me but left me feeling that it was not a jumping off point to immediately begin another piece in that same vein. In short, it left me feeling a bit blocked.

So, this piece, a 12″ square canvas, was started as a palate cleanser, something where I could just makes marks and shapes and color to fill some space, hoping that it somehow sparked something. This was basically how the Archaeology series began back in 2008. At the time, I was stumped and felt that I was at the end of my creative surge. I began working from a method taught by my 5th grade art teacher where we would simply take large blank sheets of paper and, using pen and ink, fill them in anyway we could. It’s something that I often turn to when I am feeling uninspired and it often bears interesting results.

Here, it started with a face, quickly slashed in with loose strokes, just trying to make a form with as little fuss or detail as possible. Then came another and another and so on. Each inspired the next. They went down in my normal red oxide at first then I went back at each face with quick, rough strokes of other colors, letting the tones and shapes play off one another. It was meant to be coarse in its execution, done fast and without much conscious thought, giving it a bit more expressionistic feel.

What they are, I don’t know. I wasn’t trying to represent anyone I knew or had seen. Just the general faces that have often popped out in my drawing over the years. But many of them have been with me for many years now. Some of them appeared when I was a small child and would try to find them in wallpaper patterns or in the edges of curtains. Everything could be made into a face, so it seemed.

And some I see as being from images culled from medieval texts, even down to the way the lips are modeled. Not done purposely, but they appear that way to me.

But most I recognize here  have been with me since my childhood, some that are friendly and some that deeply bother me, leaving me with an uneasy feeling as though I recognize them from past unpleasant personal experience.

Maybe from this life or some other earlier incarnation, if there are such things. Maybe it’s just a matter of facial and image recognition present in us all that pulls from sort of collective consciousness, that makes us respond to certain shapes and forms. Like I said, I don’t know.

Or maybe it’s just a psychological biopsy of the facets of a personality. Again, I don’t know.

But as a palate cleanser, it has served its purpose. It has amped me up a bit and I could see this small piece growing into larger painting, say 4 or 5 foot square. I could see that having a great impact on the wall, even if it’s only the wall here in the studio. But I don’t know if it will go anywhere beyond this.

Don’t even know if I will completely finish this particular or if I should even try to put eyes in the dark holes where they should be in these faces. I like the feeling that the dark pits give the piece. It gives the faces the appearance of being masks.

And maybe that is what our faces really are- masks.

As always, I don’t know if that’s true. But I do now that if this piece transforms into a larger series I will call it the Masks.

We shall see.

 

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GC Myers-Unpuzzled 2015January is always a month of feeling out in the studio, trying to find a rhythm, a strand that I can grab onto and follow into the rest of the year.   Getting  a group of small pieces ready for the Little Gems show at the West End Gallery (which opened last night) is part of this feeling out process, sometimes acting as a preview as to where the work may ultimately lead me.

This year found that group with clear and glowing transparent color that was very gem-like.  The pieces felt like pieces of jewelry as much as paintings to me which is something I might be able to carry forward.

But now it is February and I am beginning to just let things flow as they come out, emotionally based and free of too much forethought.  Just let it happen and not try to direct it too much.  The first piece after the Little Gems  and in this February frame of mind was the piece shown here at the top, an 18″ by 18″ canvas that is called  Unpuzzled.  This is as much a piece for myself  alone as anything I might do, meant to only satisfy my own need to see it.

I wanted to see a harmony of patterns, rhythms and color that was as much non-objective as objective, which is how I could describe just about any of those pieces which most deeply satisfy me personally.  As this piece does.  It’s one of those pieces about which I don’t care what others might think– it works for me.  And maybe just for me but it doesn’t matter.  It just clicks an internal switch for me.

Sitting here at the moment, looking at this painting, makes me want to translate something like it to a much larger format, maybe 4′ by 4′, where the impact of the forms and colors would resonate with the grander scale.

Maybe…

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GC Myers 2013- Moment Sublime smI delivered my work yesterday to the West End Gallery for this year’s solo exhibit, Islander.  The show, which hangs in the Corning gallery from July 26th until August 30, is something like my 37th or 38th solo show at different galleries around the country so there are common experiences with each that you begin to notice.  One is definitely the sense of relief that comes with delivering the show.

The work is done, everything framed and photographed, and in the gallery.  Seemingly , my job is done.  That’s not exactly true as there is always an aspect of the job that lingers after the work leaves the studio such as writing this and doing other promotional things that are required in order to spread the word about my work.  But for the most part, my work is done and I can step back to take a deep breath.

I generally notice a sense of exhaustion that sets in immediately after delivery, as though the tension of meeting a deadline has been a distraction from the tiredness that has been creeping in.  It’s a good exhaustion though, one that comes with knowing that I am totally satisfied with the work that I have done and have put in it as much as I could.

It’s a feeling much like the one I see in the painting featured above, Moment Sublime, a 9″ by 14″ painting on paper that is part of the show.  I suppose that is why I chose it for today’s post.  There is that same real sense of satisfaction in this image, a peaceful feeling of being only in the moment.  For me, after delivering the show, this means having no regrets about the work I have done and not concerning myself in that moment about the future results of the show or what comes next.

The task is done.  I am very happy with what I have done, feeling that it truthfully represents who I am at this moment.  All that I could ask.  In that instant, I am that Red Tree and the moment is indeed sublime…

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