Posts Tagged ‘The Road’

GC Myers- Suffering MemoryJust remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
You forget some things, don’t you?
Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road


 Much of my work concerns itself with our memory, how we perceive our past and how the memory of that past affects our present and our future.  It often seems a treasure, this memory, but it also comes with the price of suffering as well.  After all, the word nostalgia is created from two Greek roots, nostos which means return and algos which means pain or grief.

We suffer in our desire to return.

I see that feeling in this new piece, an 11″ by 15″ painting on paper that I call Suffering Memory.  There is something in the color and the placement of the elements that has a bittersweet quality much like that feeling of looking back through time to a point that you know is long gone and will never come again.

You desire a return but too much has changed–  knowledge gained, the self revealed and innocence lost.

The strong chaos of the texture underneath gives this piece an effect that I think adds to the distance of the memory felt.  The texture acts as a distorting agent which represents the natural distortion that time casts over all of our memories. As we all know, while we would like to think that memory is an absolute truth, time often seems to bend it even further from reality.

The texture here creates areas of light and dark that represent for me the alternating facets of memory’s truthfulness.  While it would be nice to have all memories be completely faithful to the absolute truth of the moment, it is that texture, that flawed recall of our memory that gives it the meaning that it holds for us.

In reality, nothing is seldom as good or as bad as we remember.  But that doesn’t really matter because it is not the truth to which we react.  It is our memory of it, our personal version of that truth with its own color and texture that affects us, that causes us to suffer the memory.

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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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