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Posts Tagged ‘West End Gallery’

When the idea first came to mind of doing an auction to raise funds to help out the wildlife organizations in Australia that are faced with the Herculean task before them, I thought it would be ending at noon today. But due to the generosity and good spirit displayed those folks who participated, the auction terminated early with all three paintings reaching the goals set for them.

So early, in fact, that all were paid for and the funds forwarded to Wildlife Rescue Australia (WIRES) by last evening.

The final tally?

The three pieces raised a total of $3750 which I bumped up to an even $4000 for the donation.

The donation was made to the Australian charity in Australian dollars, which after conversion, came out to 5815 AUD$. Sounds more impressive, right?

Hopefully, those funds will help the healing there in some small way.

The three bidders who put in the winning bids are spread around and all are folks who I have come to know through my work.

For the first painting, A Clearing Comes, I want to thank Denny S. of Springfield, Ohio for stepping up to the plate with his generous bid. I use the baseball term because Denny has the first baseball painting (and one that I periodically run out here) I did a number of years back. More than that, Denny is just an all around good guy with a generous heart. Thank you, Denny.

The Hideaway

The next painting that went was The Hideaway, won by Jennifer M. and Stevan K. of nearby Trumansburg, NY. I’ve met this lovely couple a few times over the past few years and am always pleased to spend some time talking with them. They attended this past year’s Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery with their children, who impressed me greatly with their questions and observations. Jennifer and Stevan, you are warm and caring people and I thank you so much.

Part of the Pattern

And the final painting, A Part of the Pattern, went to John M. and Ron S. from Moline, Illinois. They first saw my work at my 2012 exhibit at the Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown while on a road trip. I met them face to face a year or two later as they were visiting the West End Gallery while on another road trip. They are both good and gracious guys and I thank you both, John and Ron– or Hank as he is sometimes known.

To these winning bidders and everyone else who took part, I extend my everlasting gratitude. There are so many dire problems in this world right now, so many places with people and creatures that need our help, that it seems almost ridiculous to think that any one of us can make a difference in any meaningful way.

It’s a big world with big challenges.

But thanks to people like these folks, small steps can be made. And more than that, hope is maintained and carried forward, as is the belief that can still affect the world around us.

That we can make a difference.

And so long as we have that belief, hope and possibility remain.

So, make a difference. I am not asking you to shift the world from its axis. Help someone out. A hand up to someone who is down. Give some time. A dollar, or five or ten, here and there.

Do what you can and be generous in your spirit.

It will do the world some good.

A Clearing Comes- Auction for Australian Wildlife

 

 

 

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I was going back through some old things on this site and came across this piece of music that I shared here several years ago. Listening to it took my mind far way from the subject I had intended to write about this morning.

So far, in fact, that I can’t even recall that original thought stream. It must not have been too important.

So, forget what I was going to say and, if you’re so inclined, give a listen to that piece of music. It’s called Miss Sarah off the album Blues Twilight from jazz trumpeter Richard Boulger.

Maybe it will distract you from something you intended on doing, as well.

PS: The painting at the top is a fave of mine, Pause in the Moonlight, which is at the West End Gallery.

 

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Ring of Fire- Gina Pfleegor 2019

We’re moving into a new decade in a few days and I though I would play some music this Sunday morning that reflected that fact. My personal opinion is that this could be a momentous year with ramifications that could echo down through whatever history we have left here. You can interpret that however you wish, be it with cheery optimism or dark pessimism. It could go either way at this point.

You might get a hint of my own view from the song selection: the Johnny Cash classic, Ring of Fire, written by June Carter. However, this is a different take on the song. Where the original is uptempo with a mariachi guitar band feel, this version from former Animals lead singer Eric Burdon in 1974 has a driving military march feel.

I first came across this version many, many years ago when I found the Eric Burdon album it was from, Sun Secrets, in a bargain bin of 8-track tapes at the old J.J. Newberry five and dime store in Elmira, which, if I am not mistaken, has been closed for decades now. I think I paid a quarter for the tape, which appealed to me had versions of many of Burdon’s earlier Animals’ hits such as It’s My Life and When I Was Young.

Hey, it was a quarter and our car at the time still rocked a player for the massive 8-track cartridges. I was always afraid that if I slammed on the brakes too hard that one of them might fly up and crush my skull.

It turned that some of that album was meh but some of the songs, especially the reworked versions of older songs, really worked. I especially liked this version of Ring of Fire even though the Cash version is perfect as it is. I just like to hear new interpretations, I guess. Give a listen and see for yourself.

The painting above is titled, of course, Ring of Fire. It’s from artist Gina Pfleegor, who also exhibits her work at the West End Gallery. I am proud to have this piece hanging in my studio.

Gina has been a tremendously talented painter of realism for a number of years but has really blossomed in recent years, moving to new levels with a series of metaphorical paintings with female figures as their central focus, many using her daughter as the model. These pieces have a unique quality that make them really sparkle on the wall and engage the imagination of viewers, myself included.

I always look forward to seeing what’s next with her work. You can check out her work on her site, Gina Pfleegor Fine Art. You can best see her newer work by clicking here which takes you to a Google images page with her work.

Just plain good stuff. So, take a look her Ring of Fire, give a listen to Eric Burdon’s version of Ring of Fire then brace yourself for whatever 2020 might bring.

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I’ve mentioned here before that my father is in a local nursing facility, suffering from Alzheimer’s related dementia. Visits with him have become shorter and shallower, barely any conversation outside of a short script of repeating questions he asks that remain embedded in his fading mind. Most of the time, he sleeps now. It’s a strange thing seeing him now. He seems a faint echo of his prior self. Many of the facets of he personality I knew as a kid are not recognizable in him now.

I sometimes sit there for a bit and look at him, trying to remember him in different times, with his good points and his bad. I often think of him with his friends at a few local bars, the environment where he seemed to me to be most comfortable and at home. There was a lot of easy laughing and a warmth extended to his comrades, many of which were guys he’d known for most of life, that I didn’t see anywhere else, even at home. It was a true facet of who he was, one that only showed itself in the safety found in the dark, smoky closeness of those old bars. 

At those moments, looking at him in this way, I always go back to a favorite song, one that I used in the post below from several years ago that deals with this same subject. Here it is:

GC Myers-Tree Waltz smIt’s the last Sunday of June and I sit in my studio early this morning surrounded by new work in varied states of completion that is headed to the West End Gallery for my show there at the end of July. There are paintings on easels and on chairs, some propped against the walls, on ledges above the fireplace as well as leaning against the hearth– everywhere I turn they’re facing me.

I take a moment and just sit back and take them all in, just letting them meld together as a collective group. For a moment, there’s a disconcerting feeling like looking at mirror that is shattered but still in place, a hundred different angles of myself staring back at me. But there is a quick adjustment, like my eyes coming into focus, and they’re no longer images of myself. Oh, I’m in there and I am part of what they are but they are more like a group of friends surrounding me, each with their own life but still maintaining a close relationship with me. I know them well, know their secrets, know what they mean to me. And they know me, hold my secrets and share a past with me.

In that moment, there’s a feeling like I am in a room full of friends and it is warmly reassuring. I’m not sure I can do justice with my description here. It makes me think of a favorite song of mine, Feeling Good Again, from Robert Earl Keen. Whenever I hear this song I am reminded of the time in my youth spent with my father, especially after my brother and sister were gone and I alone remained at home.

On many Saturdays we ended up at the horse track and before heading out would stop at a beer joint in town. It would only be about 9 or 10 in the morning but the place would be busy, with some guys drinking their morning coffee and some their first of many beers for the day. When we walked in, there would be shouted greetings and smiles from around the bar. Everyone knew each other and there was a terrific sense of friendship and camaraderie in their banter. Looking back, I can  see how that place was a safe haven for a lot of tough, working class lives and how those friendships, though maybe not deep, were reassuring, a connection they often couldn’t find in other parts of their lives.

They might struggle through the week but for s few short hours, they had a kinship that made it tolerable. Those times had them feeling good again.

Feeling Good Again is the name of this song from Robert Earl Keen. When I hear this song, I am transformed again to one of those Saturday mornings, a thirteen year old kid drinking a coke while my old man joked around with his buddies and looked over the Racing Form with his cup of coffee.  Have a great day.

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This is one of those post where I am just using the content as a pretext for playing a piece of music I want to share. In this case, the pretext is that this year’s edition of my annual solo show, Moments and Color, finishes its run at the West End Gallery at the end of business today. It is a show that blends my better known motifs, such as the Red Tree above in Life Pop, with new directions such as the faces (or masks) that populate the Multitudes series. It’s a show that very much pleases me, both in how it came together and in the response to it.

I want to than everybody who was able to make it to the gallery. Thank you so much for the feedback and for giving homes to many of the works that were part of this show. And, as always, all the thanks I can find to Jesse and Linda Gardner at the gallery for doing a masterful job of hanging the show and for their friendship and encouragement through the past 25 years.

As I often point out, my life would be so much different if I had never encountered the Gardners. And for that I eternally grateful.

Today is the last opportunity to see this show, so if you’re so disposed, pleases stop in at the West End Gallery today. Plus, there is a wealth of great work by the gallery’s many other talented artists that you should take the time to see.

American Music- January 1995- GC Myers

Now, on to the real purpose of this blog– playing some music that I have wanted to share for a bit. I thought the song So Long Baby, Goodbye from The Blasters back in 1981 would fit this subject perfectly. The Blasters, headed by Dave Alvin, were at their peak in the early 1980’s. They were the favorites of many critics and their big thumping sound ushered in the rockabilly revival of of the 80’s and predated and paved the way for the Americana music genre that we know today.

Since that time they have flown under the radar and a lot of folks don’t know the name or have long forgotten it. I was a fan from their first album and even put the name of one of their songs, American Music,  to a small experimental painting back in early, when I was first starting out. It was painted about a month before I began showing my work at the West End Gallery, no doubt while I had The Blasters on the turntable.

Here are two songs from The Blasters– So Long Baby, Goodbye and American Music. Again, many thanks. Have a good day.


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“Breakout” Currently at the West End Gallery

Not much to say here today.

This week marks the last chance to see my Moments and Color show at the West End Gallery. The show ends this coming Friday, August 30.

My Icons & Exiles show will hang until September 20 at the Patterson Library Octagon Gallery in Westfield, NY. There will be an Art Talk there on Thursday, September 12 at 6 PM.

I am in the process of getting ready for my 17th annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It takes place on Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM. I am looking for a prize to give away that equals the 1970 Gremlin from the West End Gallery talk earlier month. This is going to be a tough task.

I thought I’d play a video this morning to kick off the week with some energy. It’s a video of Led Zeppelin from 50 years ago, in March of 1969, playing live in a Danish television studio. This was just after the release of their first album. In another video from this session you can see the small audience file in and sit in a semi circle around the band. There are maybe 50 or 60 people, at best. And they played like they were in front of a full arena. It’s a great but long performance, over 12 minutes long, but the first couple of minutes are definitely worth a look. Have a good day and here’s How Many More Times.

 

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The Gallery Talk was a bit of fun on Saturday at the West End Gallery. But more than that, it gave me a bit of hope being in the midst of people who were concerned at that moment with things that affirm our own existence rather than condemn the existence of others. As I said in the talk, I am pro-affirmation. It became a running joke on Saturday but I would like to believe it is true.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more of those who condemn the existence of others out there today. Maybe it is the same amount as always. But they feel emboldened and have the ear of a president* who will say and do anything to maintain his control.

And along with them, there are a lot of folks who have refused to pay attention and just assume that it will work itself out without them needing to lift a finger or even think about it. These folks are the ones who really worry me, maybe more than those who willingly hate others, who willingly despoil our world, who knowingly twist the rule of law and gleefully profit from it all.

These folks who just turn a blind eye enable them because they think they have no power to stop anything. They accept a gentle cut here or there. It doesn’t hurt anyone they know so what’s the harm? But in doing so, they move the line for what is acceptable and normal away from where it has been for generations. Soon, the cuts are not gentle any more and hurt some of the people around them, maybe even themselves. And the line for what is normal keeps moving away from them to create a world they couldn’t have imagined when they weren’t paying attention.

They will be as powerless then as they feel now. But, in fact, they have the power to stop much of it now if they simply open their eyes and refuse to accept this new normal. They must pay attention, they must speak out, to act if needed. But most of all, they must be willing to say “No.”

How do you make these sleeping giants understand that they need to turn their eyes to this situation? That’s a tough one. The great poet Wendell Berry wrote this poem below, Questionnaire, back in 2009 and it asks us how much awfulness we are willing to accept as normal. We need to answer with great honesty if we want to live in a world that is acceptable and beneficial for the most of us.

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QUESTIONNAIRE
by Wendell Berry

  1. How much poison are you willing
    to eat for the success of the free
    market and global trade? Please
    name your preferred poisons.
  2. For the sake of goodness, how much
    evil are you willing to do?
    Fill in the following blanks
    with the names of your favorite
    evils and acts of hatred.
  3. What sacrifices are you prepared
    to make for culture and civilization?
    Please list the monuments, shrines,
    and works of art you would
    most willingly destroy.
  4. In the name of patriotism and
    the flag, how much of our beloved
    land are you willing to desecrate?
    List in the following spaces
    the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
    you could most readily do without.
  5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
    the energy sources, the kinds of security,
    for which you would kill a child.
    Name, please, the children whom
    you would be willing to kill.

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