Posts Tagged ‘Strange Victory’

Woke up late this morning, at least by my standards. I bolted awake directly coming out one of those weird dreams that seem like something out of a dystopian novel like 1984 or Brave New World.

Or taken from any recent newspaper.

I wanted to go back to sleep just to try again, maybe come out this sleep with something better. Second times a charm, you know.

But I couldn’t so I headed over to the studio for my morning rituals. But that feeling from my dreams lingered, like a foreboding prophetic omen that is always at the edge of my thoughts and my vision.

I have a floater in my right eye that sometimes, when I am looking straight ahead, will dart across the far right periphery of my field of vision. It’s been there a while now but I often still finding myself jerking my head reflexively to see what is there. Of course, there is never anything there yet its continued presence gives me an unsettling feeling as though something could be there when I look the next time.

Uncomfortable dream or terrible omen? I’m rooting for uncomfortable dream but who knows what our subconscious is up to these days.  So much of the info, the indicators, the patterns it selects to process from the outside world enter without our knowledge.

It all reminds me of the image at the top, a painting from back in 1996 or thereabouts. I can’t locate a slide of this piece but came across an old photocopy yesterday and was really taken with it. It’s called Strange Victory II designed as a kind of companion to Strange Victory which was an early painting that I showed here and was based on a favorite poem of mine with that title from Sara Teasdale.

There is a lot that I like in this painting– the subtlety of the colors, the textures and the contrast of the figure and the tree against the backdrop. It is so simply constructed but has a fullness that is often elusive to me as an artist.

I think it’s a great companion piece for this week’s Sunday Morning Music. This week I chose Don’t Give Up, the Peter Gabriel song from back in the 1980’s. This version is from Willie Nelson accompanied by Sinead O’Connor, from his 1996 album, Across the Borderline. I think it’s a first rate cover of the song and I can envision the image of this painting when I listen to it.

Take a listen and have good day and better dreams.

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GC Myers-2014

I am still taking in this new painting, an 18″ by 18″ piece on canvas that remains unnamed as I ponder it a  bit more.  It is, at first glimpse, a snow painting.  At least, it was intended to be so.  For me, there is something quite challenging in presenting this surface that translates as pristine but, in fact, is far from it, having multiple layers of color beneath it which show through at points.  The edges show a glow of red oxide and violet, giving it a warmth that belies the coolness of the white blanket.  It’s a departure from the snow of Dale Nichols‘  paintings that I showed here yesterday, which is pure and luminous.

The thing that I have found with using the white of the snow is that it really displays the lines of the forms underneath.  The lines of  landscape in the foreground here, for example, really pop off the surface.  This could be a bad thing if they don’t have an organic sense of rightness,  that vague and elusive quality to which I often refer.  I think this piece has it.

While looking at this painting this morning, I began to ask myself, “What if that isn’t snow?”  This change of perspective gave the piece a very different reading , one that I hadn’t thought of when it was being painted but one that might pass through the mind of some folks.  What if this is some desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, devoid of  vegetation and covered in ash and dust?  The ravaged  landscape of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road immediately came to mind.  The painting suddenly took on a different feel but it still felt warm and even jubilant in a way.  As though the Red Tree,  fatigued at the end of that dark ribbon of road, had finally met the warm gaze of the sun that burned through the hazy sky.  The Red Tree was still standing despite the desolation around it and was rejuvenated, lifted up, by the sun’s energy.

It brought to mind the poem Strange Victory from the late Sara Teasdale, a poem that I have featured here in the past.  It is one of my favorite poems and expresses the contrast that I often try to impart in my work.  I think it fits this reading of this painting very well.

 Strange Victory

To this, to this, after my hope was lost,

To this strange victory;

To find you with the living, not the dead,

To find you glad of me;

To find you wounded even less than I,

Moving as I across the stricken plain;

After the battle to have found your voice

Lifted above the slain.

Sara Teasdale

Funny how a simple shift in perception  can alter the whole meaning of a piece.  It was originally meant as snow and will probably remain so .  But for the moment I find myself asking:  Is it snow?


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