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Posts Tagged ‘Series’

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Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, Part 51

 

The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them.

And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?

Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,

(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?

Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

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Bob Dylan unveiled another new song a few days ago, a follow up to his 17 minute epic, Murder Most Foul. Its title, I Contain Multitudes, references a line from Song of Myself from Walt Whitman. It’s a line that I have used in the past, most notably last year as the basis for my series of face paintings, Multitudes.

The piece from that series, shown here on the right, is what I would consider the title piece for the series, bearing the title Multitudes. I see the faces in these pieces as being parts of me, small parts that make up a greater whole. Just as the masses of people that make up a nation, it is always filed with paradox and contradiction.

The good and the bad. The wise and the foolish. The happy and the sad. The humble and the greedy. The careful and the careless.

You try to focus on the better parts with the hope that is the part that people identify with you. But like a vast nation, you can never know which part of you is  perceived as your true self by others.

So, there you are, containing multitudes that contradict one another from moment to moment, trying to put on your best face. It’s all you can do.

Here’s Dylan’s new song. Give a listen and put your best face forward today, if you can.

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GC Myers-In the Window- Flower of DoreenI wasn’t going to do a re-post on the blog today but when I was going through some images I came across an image from a series that I did in 2005 called In the Window which had my typical landscapes with the Red Tree as seen through a window in various interiors.  This series was pretty well received but never found its way into my regular rotation of work.  It remains an isolated series from that time but is one that is very close to me personally.  I guess an example of this fondness might be that there is one piece in the series, the one above bears my late mother’s name.  Its title is In the Window: Flower of Doreen.

Seeing that her birthday is next week I felt like I should pay her a little tribute here.  She never witnessed my work in a gallery, never knew that I would find a career doing this.  But I think she would be pleased  by the fact that her name lives on in a painting and that the flowers she planted many years ago are doing well.

Here’s what I wrote several years back along with a few more examples from this series at the bottom:

GC Myers-  In the Window- EverpresentA question asked of me this weekend inspired me to go back into my archives and pull out the images of a few pieces done several years back.  I was asked if I used this time of the year as a starting point for new work and I said that I often did,  using it as a time to begin new ideas that I want to try.  I explained that it was important for me to continue trying new things as it excited me in the studio and that this excitement was important to all of my work.  This new work provides a vibrancy that permeates all my work and helps me find the new in compositions that I have painted in the past.

I explained that I liked to try new concepts in series in most years and that some are more embraced than others and become part of my regular painting vocabulary for years.  The Red Roof series is such a series.  I have painted examples in this series for several years and it has become ingrained.  The Archaeology series is another. 

Other series last but a season.  While they may be popular from a sales standpoint,  they soon exit my routine.  The In the Window series is an example of such a series.  Done in 2005, they were a series of paintings that featured simple interior scenes with large windows that were highlighted by examples of my typical landscapes.  The idea was that the interior scene acted as a setting to show the landscapes in a different manner, much like the setting for a piece of  jewelry dictates how a gem is seen.  The gem here was  my landscape.

GC Myers- In the Window: Dream AwayThis painting shown on the left, In the Window: Dream Away, was the first piece.  It seemed to jump off the paper on which it was painted.  Very vibrant.  The setting of the window pushed the scene of the tree atop the mound overlooking the water out of the frame and seemed to intensify it.  I was immediately taken with the concept and a number of others soon followed, including the one at the top.  These pieces sold pretty well but they eventually lost steam for me from a creative standpoint.  While I still felt that they were vibrant , I sensed that I had done as much as I could with the concept and didn’t want it to become labored and tired.  My excitement was passing and I wanted to stop near a peak rather than at a low when the work was completely played out when I was viewing it as a toil rather than a joyous activity.

I still feel excitement personally when I see these pieces from this time and I know they are of a certain time for me.  I want them to stand as they are in my body of work.   As I described this this past weekend, I explained that the interesting thing about stopping a series is that it creates a finite number of pieces within it.  They become more distinctive over time, more representative of a certain time in my own artistic continuum.  So while these series, such as the In the Window series, are short-lived they have a longer viewpoint.

GC Myers-  In the Window- Full PotentialGC Myers- In The Window: Worlds Beckon GC Myers-  Inthe Window: The Searcher GC Myers-  In the Window:The Vigil GC Myers-  In the Window:Home Land

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GC Myers-FourShadowing ing Grouping

I recently painted the four  12″ by 12″ paintings, shown above, which is grouped as a set titled FourShadowing.  I wanted to have only the most subtle of differences between the pieces as far as subject and form so that there was a repetitive quality as your took them in, almost like the recurring chorus of a song.  The variations of colors acts as a sort of verse.

I try to not think to0 much about this, not wanting to contrive the outcome in a way that saps all of the energy from the work.  Just let the elements do their thing, let their voices be heard over the repeating imagery of the four pieces.

I saw the video below, a simple explanation of how we are affected by musical repetition based on the work and book, On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind , of cognitive scientist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, and it instantly made me wonder if repetition played the same part in visual art.  I believe that the  personal style of an artist is a form of repetition, that the more familiar a viewer is with the work of an artist, the easier they find themselves able to engage with it.  The repeating nature of their style and the body of work reinforces and reassures.

Of course, I am talking off the top of my head right now and I might read this later and ask myself what the hell I was talking about.  It’s a grain of a thought at the moment.

Anyway, take a few minutes to watch the video and think about it on your own:

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