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Posts Tagged ‘Principle Gallery’

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“Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. Art is the liberation of the humanity inside yourself.” 

― Daisaku Ikeda

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I was going to write more about this painting– Split the Darkness, which is part of my current show at the Principle Gallery–and the thought behind it but the words above from Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda pretty much sums up what I was thinking. And in a much more concise way. In short, to fully experience life we must endure the pain that is part of it, the suffering and loss that comes to us all. The art we create is a reflection of our experience, our humanity.

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For the mystic what is how. For the craftsman how is what. For the artist what and how are one.

–William McElcheran, Canadian Sculptor 1927-1999

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This morning I came across the quote above from the great Canadian sculptor William McElcheran that I featured here a few years back. Its wordplay and meaning both still ring a bell for me, even though I am not sure of McElcheran’s definitions of what and how. I have searched several times trying to find the origin of this quote to see the context in which it was first said but it seems to simply stand alone.

And I guess that’s okay because it says a lot and is complete in its meaning, at least in the way I perceive it.

I guess I fall in the artist category here. I am definitely searching for the what in my work regardless of the how that is required to get there. I will gladly alter my how to get to the what. My how is not based on tradition, is not absolute in any way and changes as needed. Yet, it is still crucial that it remains my how because if I feel that if I defer to another how exclusively it ceases to be my how and fails to express my individual voice.

It is when the how and the what merge that I feel most satisfied in my work.

Now, if you can follow that– and I am not really sure that I can myself– you must obviously fall into the mystic category.

I used the painting at the top, Spirit of Silence, which is part of my current Principle Gallery show, because it feels to me like it falls in that area where the how and what come together. It is a simply built painting where the how of it seems to roll perfectly into the what that it conveys. I immediately thought of this piece when I read the words at the top earlier.

 

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i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

 
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?


(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened) 

 e e cummings 

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I struggled coming up with a title for this painting. It is a piece that really resonates with me and I wanted to have a title for it that captured what I was seeing in it. At first, I wanted the title to point out what I perceived to be the richness of the land and its colors. At first, I called it The New Cornucopia but it just didn’t sit right. There was more to what I was seeing in the painting than that particular title captured.

I went seeking for something that better expressed what I saw in it and came across a poem that I had read long ago from the late poet e e cummings. Shown above, i thank you God for most this amazing is more prayer of thanks than poem with an emphasis on seeing the yes in all things surrounding us. It has a lovely transcendental feel to it that, for me, jibed with what I was seeing in this painting.

This poem was originally included in cummings’ 1950 collection of poems, Xaipe.  That title intrigued me. It wasn’t anything I had seen before and I wanted to know how it might connect to the poem above. I found that it is a Greek word, pronounced zape, and translates as rejoice or be happy.

That was perfect for what I was sensing in this painting- the joy in just being alive and recognizing, with the opened eyes of my eyes, the wonder of the natural world around us. The yes of everything.

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“Touch your inner space, which is nothingness, as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is a poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.”

~Osho

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“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.”

― Christiaan Huygens, Cosmotheoros: or, conjectures concerning the inhabitants of the planets (ca 1695)

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I am a bit slow getting around this morning so I thought I’d share one more painting from the Principle Gallery show. This is titled The Navigator and is 24″ by 24″ on canvas.

Accompanying it are the words from the 17th century Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens. Shortly before his death in 1695, he had written a book, Cosmotheoros, in which he postulated on the existence of extraterrestrial life in the far reaches of the universe. His lifelong study of the cosmos allowed him to see how tiny and possibly inconsequential our world was in relative terms.

And that is a fitting thought for this painting as the boat skims over a vast sea, guided by the light from huge suns that are so distant that they may not even exist at this moment even though their light still travels to us through the dark of space.

The universe is humbling in its scale and scope.

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Back in the studio this morning after returning yesterday from Alexandria. The show opening went very well with a highly positive response that I will say was most gratifying and affirming. This was where I wanted the work to be from a creative standpoint and to have folks respond so well just feels good, to put it plainly.

I can’t say thank you enough to the many folks who showed up including some old friends who I only get to see once in a great while or only through this site or other social media. There were some there who I unfortunately couldn’t get to at the opening and I hope to be able to speak with these folks at some other point.

I’ve written here before about how fortunate I have been to continue to do this annual show after so many years. I have to say it is these people who continue to show up and respond so well to the work that make it possible. I am so appreciative of their continuing interest in the work and the vast amount of inspiration they provide. Thank you.

And to everyone at the Principle Gallery, I offer a simple thank you. You know how I feel about you all and the gratitude I feel for all you have given me over the years. It has been a great gift.

I am going to cut it short while I recuperate this morning. Want to keep things quiet so for this week’s Sunday morning music I offer a contemplative piece from concert guitarist Anders Miolin. It is a traditional Chinese composition called High Mountain & Flowing Water and is played on his unique 13-stringed guitar, an instrument he designed along with master luthier Ermano Chiavi. Give a listen and relax. It’s the kind of music and feeling I hope for in my own work.

Have a good day…

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Lux Vitae- GC Myers

Tomorrow, Friday, June 1, is the opening for my show of new work at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. Haven is my 19th show with the wonderful folks at the Principle, a mark that still boggles my mind. When I first began painting after being injured in the fall from the ladder at the house we were building back in 1993, I had no idea it would ever amount to anything.

In fact, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t. There was nothing in my past that pointed to any future level of success as an artist.

I just wanted something to call my own.

So from being invited to show my work with the Principle Gallery and onto my first solo show there in 2000– which was called, surprise,surprise, Red Tree— I have felt like I was playing with house money, that anything beyond this was gravy. Sorry for mixing metaphors there.

But in my mind, with that first show, I had already exceeded my expectations. Plus, beyond that, I had achieved my primary goal of creating something that I could call my own, something that would be validated internally by myself and externally by others.

So, each show is a reminder of how fortunate I have been in the past two decades. And knowing that I have been the beneficiary of such good fortune drives me to work a bit harder, to dig a little deeper for every subsequent show. I still believe that I have much to prove and room to grow with my work, as an artist and a person.

These years have given me no sense of entitlement. In fact, I think I feel less entitlement than I did in my earlier years in this field.  I didn’t know any better then. Now, I understand that as an artist you are on a constant  proving ground which requires real commitment and self-belief in order to stay relevant.

These were some of the thoughts that drove me while working for this show and I think it shows in the paintings. I am personally pleased and excited with this show, mainly because I know that I have done what I hoped to do with this show. It feels like an honest and real expression.

But, hey, that’s just my opinion. You can judge it for yourself. Or not. But if you do want to take a look, Below is a nice short video ( it’s only a minute and a half!) I threw together with some of the pieces from the show.

The painting at the top is Lux Vitae, a 30″ by 40″ canvas that I think is really symbolic of this show.

Hope you’ll come out and see it tomorrow.

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