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Posts Tagged ‘Silence’

Silence is not neutrality.

Silence is not a shield.

Silences relinquishes your voice and opinion to others, enabling those who seek power through division, disunity and deceptions.

Silence is the approval that allows dark deeds to exist in this world.

Silence is complicity to the darkness.

In things that matter, silence is surrender. 

 

 

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 Myers- Solitude and ReverenceSilence and solitude seem to be the theme this week on the blog.  Well, most weeks, I guess. Today, I am featuring a new painting that will be part of my Native Voice exhibit opening three weeks from today on June 5  at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.  It is a 24″ by 36″ canvas and is titled Solitude and Reverence.

It’s a painting that has really hung with me here in the studio, my gaze often going to it through the day as I work on other things.  There’s a sense of fullness and completeness, a quality I can’t fully describe here,  in it that pleases me, that makes me want to study it and absorb it a bit longer.

Perhaps it is because I feel that this painting is even more personal and self-referential, seeing myself as the Red Tree, isolated in the solitude of my work which is symbolized by the field rows between me and the  houses and road in the foreground.  It is a pleasant isolation, a voluntary withdrawal from the rest of the world.

I suppose I should say the world of man because there is no withdrawal from the world.  In fact, there is a more intimate relationship with the natural world which brings about the reverence referred to in the title.  I see it in this painting in the landscape spreading out in the distance and the radiating light and color of the sky which seems symbolic of the greater power and mystery of the natural world.

I sit here now and there is so much more I could write about this piece but it all seems so futile when I can just look at it, knowing everything in a glance that I could struggle for hours to say so poorly with words.

And maybe that is the message here– that we should simply shut up and take in the world in a reverent quietude.

I will do that now…

 

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GC Myers Eternally FreeAll of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

–Blaise Pascal, Pensées 

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This week’s quote continues the theme of silence that showed itself in yesterday’s post where poet Wendell Berry advised us to sit alone and to be quiet, to accept those things we might find in the silence.  This oft-quoted line from  French mathematician/philosopher Blaise Pascal from back around 1660 shows us that even in that world without smartphones and the constant crackle of 24/7 electronic and social media the idea of sitting in silence made most people anxious.

It’s an interesting thing to ponder.  As I sit here, a little before 7 AM in my quiet studio, I can hear the thump of a bass from someone’s car stereo probably almost a mile away as it goes down the road.  That is someone who obviously isn’t ready to embrace silence and believes that they are doing everyone else a favor by breaking it up so we won’t be bothered by it.

Hard as it is to admit, I was that guy at one point in  my life.   Noise was a way of making my presence, my existence, known.  

The lion’s roar.  The barbaric yawp.  

It was all an existential scream that tried to break through the ever-growing wall of sound from the outside world that threatened to obscure everything, melding all the noises into a huge suffocating drone of anonymity.

But my noise made no difference.  No single sound, no one angst-filled scream could break through and show that I was indeed alive, that I mattered.

No, existence was found sitting quietly in a room alone.

It wasn’t always easy.  In the silence there is nowhere to hide from every random thought, every fear, every diminishment of yourself. But silence provides the gift of acceptance after a time and every relived thought and moment, good or bad,  becomes equally part of the make-up of your self.  You come to realize that proof of your existence is in this acceptance and not in that barbarous scream that you once thought would scar the world as that proof.

It sounds too simple, I know.  But simplicity is sometimes very difficult and I still find myself struggling to stay in the silence, to not revert to screaming out.

But most days I find that it is worth the effort.

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GC Myers- Trio:Three SquaresI came across this poem from author Wendell Berry on Maria Popova‘s wonderful site, Brain Pickings.  It’s a lovely rumination that could apply to any creative endeavor or to simply being a human being.  I particularly identified with the final verse that begins with the line: Accept what comes from silence.  I’ve always thought there was great wisdom and power in silence, a source of self-revelation.  Perhaps that is why so many of us shun the silence, fearing that it might reveal our true self to be something other than what we see in the mirror. Berry’s words very much sum up how I attempt to tap into silence with my work.

At the bottom is a recording of Wendell Berry reading the poem which gives it even a little more depth, hearing his words in that rural Kentucky voice.  It’s fairly short so take a moment and give a listen.

HOW TO BE A POET
(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Wendell Berry

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Take refuge in silence. You can be here or there or anywhere. Fixed in silence, established in the inner ‘I’, you can be as you are. The world will never perturb you if you are well founded upon the tranquility within. Gather your thoughts within. Find out the thought centre and discover your Self-equipoise. In storm and turmoil be calm and silent. Watch the events around as a witness. The world is a drama. Be a witness, inturned and introspective.

– Ramana Maharshi

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GC Myers- Inner Realm I often speak of seeking quiet, even absolute silence. I all too often come up short in my search, usually the victim of my own fears and shortcomings which cause me to fill the void around me with sound and chaos.

Silence is pushed aside.

It is only in those times when I allow myself to be pulled completely into my work that I feel the silence slowly creeping back in, stilling the fears and doubts that seem to wail around me like sirens at times.  It is at these moments while painting that I  feel in a small way as though I am like a witness  that the great guru Ramana Maharsi advises us to be in the quote above.

I am calm and silent.  I watch and gather my inner thoughts as I feel myself melding with the colors and forms before me.  It is absolute peace as I go deeper into this inner realm.

That’s as close as I can describe in words the feeling I have when I lose myself to painting.  The painting above, Inner Realm, a 12″ by 12″ canvas, is an example of this feeling.  It is a simple and quiet but harmonious and full.  It feels outside of time, always in the present.  It is not fearful of the future or regretful of the past.  It is just as it is– quiet and placid.

All that I seek.

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Inner Realm is part of Alchemy, my solo show at the Kada Gallery, opening Saturday, November 16th, with a reception from 6-9 PM.

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Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unshown marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.

—Aldous Huxley

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I’ve been scratching around in the studio for the last few days.  Straightening up a little, putting things in their places.  Taking inventory, as it were.  Seeing what materials I have on hand, what I’m short on.

I do the same with the creative side of my mind.  I take this time, as I’ve noted in the past, to look back at the year and the body of work I’ve created over this period.  What have I done?  What is strong and what needs to improve?

One thing I’ve done in the past year is the continuance of this blog.  It’s done far better than I ever expected as far as readership and it has become a big part of my morning in the studio.  The feedback has been great and  I’ve taken a lot from the comments and e-mails received as a result of this blog but I still worry that this provides too much information about a subject, painting as an art, that often communicates best without words.  I still fear that the impact of my words and thoughts will never add up to anything near the sum of my painted work and, as a result, a seed of doubt will be planted.  A doubt that makes the viewer question their own view of the work.  If I speak and write and eventually expose all my flaws and deficiencies, will the work still stand up?

As Huxley said, the silent bear no witness against themselves.  There’s much to be said for that.  Maybe the silent artist allows the narrative surrounding their work to form on its own, to grow beyond what they themselves may be.  I can see that in many cases.

But I’ve found that I’ve always wanted to control the narrative around my work.  To not let it be spun out of my hands.  So I talk and write.

For better or worse…

The inventory goes on.

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