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Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Wilde’

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“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

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These words above from an Oscar Wilde prose piece seems to fit this new painting, To the Far Reaches, perfectly. Well. at least, in my eyes.

Those who dream often take journeys that carry them beyond the far reaches of our reality. Guided by their imagination like sailors are led by the light from the sun and moon, they are rewarded by wonders in these fantastical worlds that only they will ever see.

But this same imagination that gives them such rewards, also allows them to foresee the far reaches of reality before it actually comes to bear in this world. While mingling their imagination with a bit of knowledge of the world and its patterns to foresee the potential outcomes of the near future can sometimes be a reward when those future skies are bright, it can be a great punishment in times ahead that fall under dark skies.

It may cause the dreamer to question their own vision, their own imagination. They may stop telling others of their vision and may try to quell their journeying altogether. Or perhaps go even further beyond the far reaches of reality, into a world of pure imagination.

Or they may stay true to their imagination and speak even louder with the hope that they can avoid the darkness ahead and that they will once again be rewarded with new and brighter dawns ahead.

That’s the choice I would prefer they make– to keep speaking of what they see ahead and to keep pushing forward because as Carl Sagan once said: “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.

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This painting, To the Far Reaches, 8″ by 24″ on canvas, is part of this year’s edition, From a Distance, of my annual solo show of new work at the West End Gallery. The show opens this Friday, July 17. The show is hung and in place so you can stop in at the gallery now to get a preview of what I think is a very strong show.

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Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

–Oscar Wilde

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Yesterday, I wrote about trying to go back through my work from the past decade and choose pieces that best summed up each year. It’s a difficult, if not impossible, task. There are often many different directions that the work moves in over a given period of time or sometimes pieces that strike a chord most for me may not represent the larger body of my work for that time period.

This past year, for instant, had many tentacles. The landscapes began appearing with multiple beds of flowers. The sailboats took on larger and more expressive waves. A new female figure emerged to paddle across flat waters. And, of course, the faces from my Multitudes series began to appear.

All of these elements will no doubt remain in play for the near future and maybe well beyond that. Who knows? And who knows what new things will emerge to grab my focus?

I sure don’t.

The piece shown here, Saints and Sinners, is from this year’s Multitudes series. It’s a favorite of mine, one that I might consider as a piece to represent this past year, at least for its particular tentacle. It’s a painting that I think works well for ending this year and welcoming the next. It has a feeling of looking backward and forward. Of examining what we have been, what we are and what we might someday be.

As I like to say: What I was then is not what I am now and what I am now may not be what I will be in the future.

None of us are fully saints or sinners. There may be a few who are fully sinners well beyond redemption ( ** comes to mind) but most of us are in that boat that drifts between the two opposite shores.

I am hoping that we drift closer to the saintly shoreline in 2020.

Have a good and safe New Year’s Eve.

 

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The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? Is it the fault of the merciful Father, whose wind of mercy is blowing without ceasing, day and night, whose mercy knows no decay, is it His fault that some of us are happy and some unhappy? We make our own destiny. His sun shines for the weak as well as for the strong. His wind blows for saint and sinner alike. He is the Lord of all, the Father of all, merciful, and impartial.

–Swami Vivekananda

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This new painting in my Multitudes series is a 36″ by 24″ canvas and is titled Saints and Sinners. It’s headed out to the West End Gallery this weekend to be part of my solo show, Moments and Color, that hangs there until the end of August.

I came across the words above today from Swami Vivekananda, a 19th century Hindu monk/mystic, and they seemed an appropriate fit for this painting. Looking at this piece, the faces seem to form a sail of sorts, something I hadn’t noticed before this morning.

The imagery of our lives as being boats appeals to me. Like sailors on boats, our decisions set our course. Two boats on the same body of water may react differently on the water due to the actions of the sailor aboard each. Sometimes these are small and subtle actions. Similarly, the differences between the saint and the sinner are often small and subtle.

The saint may let go of anger where the sinner holds fast to it. The saint may see hope where the sinner sees despair. The saint may give mercy where the sinner might seek vengeance. The saint bears responsibility for their own decisions while the sinner places the blame on others for their own mistakes.

Written down, the differences seem greater than they do to the eye. The saint and the sinner may be indistinguishable at first glance. And maybe that is as it should be. We have the possibility of each– saint and sinner– within us. We have all made bad decisions but we live with the hope that we may make better ones in the future.

Like Oscar Wilde said: Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Or in the words of Nelson Mandela: I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.

Or maybe there are neither saints nor sinners. Just simple sailors in boats, some running fast and some foundering in their wake.

Hope you’ll stop out and see this new piece.

You can see it if you come to my Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery on Saturday, August 17, beginning at 1 PM. I’m sure it will be part of he discussion and maybe you’ll take home a prize! Details coming soon!

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Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.

Oscar Wilde

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This is another new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, slated to be part of my show, Redtree 20: New Growth, at the Principle Gallery, opening June 7.

I call this painting Meet Me in the Garden (At the End of the World). I know that sounds like an ominous title but I loved the way it came off the tongue with a rhythm that feels like it comes from a song. It works for me and I believe it aligns well with the painting and with the words above from Oscar Wilde.

Even though there might be nothing left to us but desolation and wilderness, even though our time here might seem at an end, beauty remains a constant.

It is a reminder of all that is meaningful in this world after everything else is stripped away.

It is our bond with both our humanity and whatever spiritual presence that might exist in the universe. To feel it, to be moved by beauty, is to be in communion with both.

Those who do not recognize or feel beauty, or deny beauty, live only partial lives, like half-filled glasses. I pity those people. They are missing the best part of this life.

Pontificating about something as subjective as beauty might be a lot to put out there before 7 AM and later in the day I may want to change these words in some way. But I believe, for the most part, that the greatest gift we receive as humans is to be emotionally moved by the beauty we witness in the world around us as well in the arts and literature we produce.

This painting reminds me that my time here is limited and being so, what better way should it end than when I am surrounded by the beautiful colors in a garden of flowers?

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Paul Henry - The Fairy ThornI thought since this was St. Patrick’s Day that  I would feature an Irish painter.  There are a couple of obvious choices– Francis Bacon and Jack Butler Yeats, for example– but I chose Paul Henry, who spent his life painting his native Ireland from 1877 until 1958.  He was perhaps the best known painter in Ireland through the first half of the 20th century though many of us here in the States may not recognize the name.

You will however recognize the familiarity of his landscapes, most set in the west of Ireland in the Connemara district, an area described by Oscar Wilde as “ a savage beauty.”   For many, Henry’s landscapes represent the idealized image of the Irish countryside with simple white cottages set among stark, barren hills and rolling green fields.  But his greens are not that bright Kelly green so often used in depicting Ireland.  No, Henry often chose blue and brown tints in his work.  He used a very distinct and deceptively cool palette in his painting which enhances the coolness and solitary nature of the landscapes.

So, even if you haven’t an ounce of Irish blood, I hope you will enjoy these images of Eire.  Have a good St. Paddy’s Day.

Paul Henry Paul Henry The Fishing Fleet Galway

(c) Queen's University, Belfast; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Paul Henry Killary Bay Paul Henry A Farm in County Down Paul Henry A Connemara Village 1933-34 Paul Henry - Connemara Landscape

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GC Myers- Light ObsessionIt is Art, and Art only, that reveals us to ourselves.–Oscar Wilde

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The final mystery is oneself.  When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself.  Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?

–Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

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GC Myers- Pulse This painting, a 10″ by 20″ canvas titled Pulse, is part of the show, Layers, that is hanging at the the West End Gallery for just over another week, until August 29th.  I was going to write more about this painting but reading the words of Oscar Wilde above make me think that I need not say more.

The mystery of the universe and that of the self are one and the same.

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Taking Off the Mask

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

—–Oscar Wilde

I read this quote from Oscar Wilde and it made me think about painting serving as a mask for some artists, allowing them to say things in paint that they see as their truth that they might not be able to express otherwise.  I might fall into that category in some regards.  I certainly hope my work reflects some sort of inner truth.  Or, at least, reflects an aspiration for what I desire for my own truth.

For instance, my work often is placid and calm while I often do not reflect that same attitude personally.  I aspire to be calm and placid and sometimes I do find it for short periods of time.  Maybe the aspiration to be this way will eventually become an ultimate truth.  Maybe this sort of personal  truth can be created, like the face behind the mask beginning to take the shape of the mask.

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s something that we shouldn’t dwell on for too long.  I thought of this quote when I was finishing this recent painting, titled True Self, a 7″ by 15″ piece on paper.  I wondered if this image on the sheet before me was any part of my own truth.  I know that I wanted it to be such but there was part of me that felt unsure, sensing that the reality didn’t yet meet the aspiration.  But it felt like there was at least a small bit of my truth in there somewhere. 

Perhaps when I finally take off the mask I will find it was not a mask but a mold.

 

 

 

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This painting, And Into The World  There Came a Soul Called Ida, is the work of the late Ivan Albright.  Not a household name by any means, but if you’ve seen his work you’ll definitely remember it.

I saw a large  retrospective of his work a number of years ago at the Met and was fascinated ( and a little creeped out) by his subjects and the darkness and tone of the work .  But it was the incredible textures of the paintings that I found amazing.  They were very sculptural on the surface, with deep moonscapes of color, layer after layer of paint that seemed to be shoved and mashed on to the surface.  It was unlike anything I had ever seen.  It was obviously the product of a huge amount of labor but it wasn’t labored.  There was something very beautiful there that transcended the unflattering depictions of the paintings.

Albright was best known for the painting he produced that was used in The Picture of Dorian Gray, the 1945  film version of Oscar Wilde’s famous novel of a corrupt young man who defies the ravages of time while his portrait reflects the true result of his debauched life.  It was the horrifying image at the end of the film.

I’m still fascinated by his work even though I have to admit I get a queasy feeling when I really take in the whole of his characters, like seeing a car wreck and not being to turn away. They are horrible and beautiful at once.  I now also really appreciate the epic efforts that must’ve went into creating these pieces, the hundreds of hours that must have been spent.  The patience of maintaining vision.

So check out the work of Ivan Albright.  He had great titles, as well.  You don’t have to like his work  but you should be aware of it…

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