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Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Prize’

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The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Speech 1982

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This is a new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas, that is part of Haven, my solo show that opens Friday at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. It is titled Seeking the Design.

I chose the words above from the Nobel Prize speech from the late author Gabriel Garcia Marquez to accompany this painting even though Marquez was speaking above how the people and countries of South America had suffered over the centuries by trying to adhere to patterns of behavior and expectation imposed upon them by foreign influences.

These words spoke to me on a more individual level. We often live our lives according to the norms and expectations of others, following well worn paths from which we seldom, if ever, depart. As a result, we often become no more than others expect us to be.

It as though we have not even attempted to find our own pattern, our own design for living.

And that is what I see in this painting. The Red Tree, an earthly being, has come to the end of that worn path and must make a decision about how to proceed. While there are multitudes of options revealed in the maze-like underpainting of the sky and earthly options that likely exist beyond the layers of distant hills, the Red Tree must choose between finding the pattern that best suits its own desires and needs or going back on that path to follow in the footsteps of the crowd that travels along it.

I get the feeling that latter option would result in one feeling, as Marquez pointed out, more unknown, ever less free and ever more solitary.

For me, this painting has a nice harmony between dark edged weariness and colorful optimism. It is both scary and invigorating in finding one’s own design or pattern to follow. I believe the Red Tree will be following its own path.

Well, that’s how I see it, anyway.

 

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Archaeology: UnburdenedIn these current strange days, I am not quite sure how I feel about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.  I think I’m okay with it.  After all, I’ve always though of him as much a writer/poet as a musician. His lyrics have been winding around the world for fifty some years and it’s hard to find any musician just about anywhere who hasn’t been influenced by his words, his music and his social consciousness.

I was trying to pick a song from Dylan for this Sunday’s musical selection and realized what an impossible task it is.  There is just such a vast and varied body of work, spanning so much time and covering so many phases in his career.  You could just play his old folk stuff from before 1965 and you might think that was a whole career.

So today I thought I would play two of my favorites from two distinct periods of Dylan’s career.  One is the early and fun Subterranean Homesick Blues with its well known video while the other is a mid-1990’s Love Sick.  Just plain good stuff from the now Nobel Prize  winning artist and writer.

Enjoy and have a good Sunday…

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GC Myers- Archaeology-Rainbows EndThe thing I am most aware of is my limits. And this is natural; for I never, or almost never, occupy the middle of my cage; my whole being surges toward the bars.

–Andre Gide

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I chose this week’s  quote from the late French author Andre Gide, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, because as an artist I find myself sometimes wondering about my limits, questioning whether I am pushing myself enough into new territory.  Gide uses a cage in his metaphor with his limitations being the bars that keep him from moving forward.  He is not content to simply accept these limits sitting contentedly in the center of his cage. No, he is always pushing and pulling at the bars, seeking to get past them.

In the past, I have expressed this same desire to press past my limits with a metaphor where the artist climbs ever upward until they come to a plateau where they are comfortable and safe.  It is a place where they could easily live out the remainder of their days with little worry, living an easy life by retelling stories that made up the journey up to this point.  Many might not even notice there is still a mountain hovering above them to climb, if they just dare leave the comfort of the easy plateau.

Gide’s cage is my plateau and while he is trying to break through his bars, I find myself still questioning if I have the nerve to start climbing.  Oh, there are first steps, tentative meanders up the path but only far enough that I am within sight and  can return easily to my safe haven on the plateau.

When does the real trek upward begin?  When does one begin to thrash at their bars?

Where are you in your own cage?

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I used a painting from several years,  Archaeology: Rainbow’s End, to illustrate this post.  For one thing, I just like this image.  But more importantly, looking at it seemed to remind me that one’s creative past is often buried and gone from sight.  Or at least, should be if one is going to continue growing.  Like the tree in the painting, you grow from that past existence  being nourished by it.  But you don’t live only in that past.  You must move upward like the Red Tree in this painting to find clear air.

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I was struggling this morning with the blog and was just about to say enough and just move on to my work when I came across the latest entry on BrainPickings.  It is a poem from the late Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012) called Possibilities.  It is basically a laundry list of her personal preferences.   Some are small and some significant but all contribute mightily to her wholeness as a person.  We are all the totality of our own laundry lists of preferences that define our character and personality  just as our DNA determines our physical characteristics.

It’s a simple yet thought-provokingly complex poem that leave me wondering about my own preferences, my own possibilities.  What are those small things that give you shape, make you who you are?

The poem is below but if you would prefer the spoken version there is a recording at read by performer Amanda Palmer.

POSSIBILITIES

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

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I Am Not Alone

The night, it is deserted
from the mountains to the sea.
But I, the one who rocks you,
I am not alone!

The sky, it is deserted
for the moon falls to the sea.
But I, the one who holds you,
I am not alone !

The world, it is deserted.
All flesh is sad you see.
But I, the one who hugs you,
I am not alone!

     –Gabriela Mistral

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Another newer piece.  This smaller painting, a little over 5″ by 10″ on paper, is painted in the style of my earlier work.  More subtle. More restrained.  Simpler compositions and more space creating a greater coolness and airiness. 

To me, the feeling of solitude.

I came across this poem by the great Chilean poetess and Nobel Prize winner, Gabriela Mistral,  and felt it fit this piece, and many others of mine, very well.  The sense of being alone yet not lonely is an important element in the way I look at my work and one that I sometimes struggle with for fear that it may alienate some who see being alone as only loneliness and not solitude. An important distinction and one that is often misunderstood. 

But we who relish our solitary time understand.

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Robertson-Deliberate Final CVR A year or two ago, I was interviewed down in Alexandria by Larry Robertson, who was conducting a couple of hundred interviews with people on the idea of entrepreneurship.  Larry is an expert and consultant on entrepreneurism, advising many enterprises  and lecturing often on the subject at Georgetown and Cornell Universities.  We had met several years before at an opening for my work at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, when he had obtained a painting of mine.  several years had passed and at an opening a couple of years ago, Larry approached me with an invitation to be interviewed for a book for which he was researching.

So we met a few months later and sat for a couple of hours.  I knew that there was a certain amount of entrepreneurism in being an artist, in that you had to create a product of your own design and establish a network for distributing it out into the wider world.  Basically, you must take your own vision and make it available for others to embrace.  But I thought I had little to offer Larry for his book.

That day Larry explained to me some of his concepts that would be laid out in his book.  He described how he had observed the growth of my career in the Alexandria area and showed me in a small chart how my work acted as a pebble which, upon striking the surface of a pond (which would be the initial successful sale of my work there,) sends out waves that spread along the surface, creating more and more opportunity for my work to be seen and be successful.  He said the success of my work  was a perfect template for success for enterprises of all sizes.  I hadn’t thought of it in that way.

I came away from the interview thinking that I had indeed taken more from the interview than I had given.

Well, Larry’s book has hit the shelves.  It’s titled A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and Its Moment in Human Progress and is a really engaging read.  He features wonderful guidance from his hundreds of interviews from a wide and varying group of entrepreneurs including Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus , the developer of microcredit where very small loans are given to the very poor so that they may pursue their own vision of enterprise, along with a multitude of  other well known names.  If you have even a small amount of the entrepreneurial spirit running in your veins, this is an invaluable guide with much to offer.

I think that this spirit of innovation and individual creation of vision,  as described in this book, will be a major force in forming the future economy of this country, in pushing along new technologies and new ways of approaching old ideas.  You can go to Larry Robertson’s website for his book by clicking on the book cover shown.  Well worth your time…

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