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Posts Tagged ‘West End Gallery’

“Light Comes Darkness Goes”- Now at the West End Gallery


As for … the idea that we could lose our freedom by succumbing to a wave of religious hysteria, I am sorry to say that I consider it possible. I hope that it is not probable. But there is a latent deep strain of religious fanaticism in this, our culture; it is rooted in our history and it has broken out many times in the past.

“It is with us now; there has been a sharp rise in strongly evangelical sects in this country in recent years, some of which hold beliefs theocratic in the extreme, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and anti-libertarian.

“It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. This is equally true whether the faith is Communism or Holy-Rollerism; indeed it is the bounden duty of the faithful to do so. The custodians of the True Faith cannot logically admit tolerance of heresy to be a virtue.

“Nevertheless this business of legislating religious beliefs into law has never been more than sporadically successful in this country — Sunday closing laws here and there, birth control legislation in spots, the Prohibition experiment, temporary enclaves of theocracy such as Voliva’s Zion, Smith’s Nauvoo, and a few others. The country is split up into such a variety of faiths and sects that a degree of uneasy tolerance now exists from expedient compromise; the minorities constitute a majority of opposition against each other.

“Could it be otherwise here? Could any one sect obtain a working majority at the polls and take over the country? Perhaps not — but a combination of a dynamic evangelist, television, enough money, and modern techniques of advertising and propaganda might make Billy Sunday’s efforts look like a corner store compared to Sears Roebuck.

“Throw in a Depression for good measure, promise a material heaven here on earth, add a dash of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Negroism, and a good large dose of anti-“furriners” in general and anti-intellectuals here at home, and the result might be something quite frightening — particularly when one recalls that our voting system is such that a minority distributed as pluralities in enough states can constitute a working majority in Washington.”

–Robert Heinlein, Afterword to Revolt in 2100, 1953


In my Virtual Gallery Talk a few weeks back, I spoke about my belief that artists, writers and others who devote themselves to observation and creation based on their sensing of patterns often create work that is prescient or prophetic. Simply by going down the list of science fiction greats such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke and so many others, you can find many examples of scenarios and concepts in their literature that came to be.

In the talk, I mentioned as an example the novel The Parable of the Sower from the late Octavia Butler which was written in 1993 and describes a chaotic and dangerous USA in 2024 that doesn’t seem implausible at this point. I felt that she was obviously observing patterns of behavior and extrapolating them out in her imagination to come to a created future state of being that was in the realm of possibility.

Of course, it’s just supposition at the time. But sometimes, out of the many speculations for the future that are put out into the world every year, a few strike close to the reality that follows.

I submit the words above from sci-fi giant Robert Heinlein written as an afterword to his 1953 book Revolt in 2100 which involves a citizen rebellion against an authoritarian theocracy in 2100. I suggest you pay special attention to the second, third and final two paragraphs. It certainly seems as though we may be at the culmination of a pattern that Heinlein observed 67 years or more ago.

A most dangerous culmination, I must add.

We have limited time to avert his vision but it will be very difficult to ever fully repress the embedded behaviors and beliefs that led to it. I have often felt that the current president*** was merely the product of a very long arc, comprised of a series of events over many decades, that bent to this very moment. His peculiar set of skills, as vile as they are, fit the needs of this pattern and he became the sharp end of a spear that is following its arc. For all his his awful behavior, malice and stupidity, he is merely the current tool of this pattern.

I have thought over the past few years that we were actually fortunate that such a flawed and horrible person ascended into this position as the spear for this pattern.

Yeah, I said we were lucky to have this piece of crap. But that’s the point, he is a piece of crap. He is so flawed, so self-destructively attached to his own hubris, desires and prejudices, that he ignites a passionate fury in those who stand opposed to his faux nationalism, his desire for total rule, and his very real racism.

With this piece of crap, we at least have some warning of his ill intent.

It gives us a chance.

Think about it. If he had been still as insidious in his actions but had been smoother, saying the right things and not outright pissing off a majority of Americans, he would be cakewalking into a reelection now due to our complacency and unwillingness to rock the boat. This could mean a complete dismantling of the American Experiment over the next four years. It would be (and still could be) a situation that would be (and still could be) beyond reversal.

Maybe even taking us into the 2100 of Heinlein’s book.

So, this morning, let’s hope that Heinlein’s observations don’t come to fruition.

Plus, let’s give thanks for the president***– thank god he’s stupid. Thank god he’s impulsive and self-destructive. Thank god he is only interested in hearing his own voice– or maybe one with a thick Russian accent. Thank god he thinks he is the smartest man in any room. Thank god he is weak willed. Thank god he has no self restraint. Thank god he has not an iota of empathy. Thank god he thinks so little of the common man. Thank god he thinks he is bulletproof and above the law. Thank god he lies as easily as he breathes– which has a little huffing, by the way. Thank god he belittles the military and the scientists. Thank god he has no loyalty to anyone– save someone with a thick Russian accent and a name that rhymes with Rootin’ Tootin’.

The list of thanks I have for this president*** is too long to list so let me sum up in this way:

Thank god our president*** is a total piece of crap.

Now, get out there and have a good day!

 

 

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I don’t need to be forgiven
For something I haven’t done
Nor for wanting my family
To find their place in the sun
If you keep this pressure on
Just don’t be surprised
If I can’t summon up my dignity
While you’re roughing up my pride

There will be a reckoning
For the peddlers of hate
Who spread their poison all across this estate
And a reckoning, too, for the politicians who
Left us to this fate
There will be a reckoning

Billy Bragg, There Will Be a Reckoning


Since we’re in the midst of another Labor Day weekend, albeit one certainly not in normal times, I was listening to some Billy Bragg, the British singer who has picked up the mantle of Woody Guthrie to become the voice for workers and the downtrodden. In fact, his Guthrie connection includes the fact that he provided most of the vocals for one of my favorites albums, Mermaid Avenue. It was a collaboration between Bragg and the group Wilco to set to music and record a group of unreleased Woody Guthrie songs that were just lyrics on paper.

The result was what I consider a brilliant album. But that’s one guy’s opinion.

I came across this song from Bragg that has been bouncing around for a while but seems to have relevance for these times. It’s called There Will Be a Reckoning. In different performances Bragg has talked about how since WWII and the defeat of the fascist forces that were threatening to overtake the planet, generations of politicians have neglected to honestly address the big issues that affect the majority of the population on this planet– financial inequality, social injustice and racism, food insecurity and adequate healthcare.

They usually just kick these concerns down the road in acts of expediency.

Expediency is often just another name for cowardice.

As a result, it has created a vacuum in which those with fascist tendencies and objectives can once again begin the rise to power through the division of the population through campaigns of fear and hatred. They see the neglected problems and, though they have no plan on ever correcting the deficits, use it as a prybar to separate the masses and set one group against the other.

And quite often they succeed. And fascism gains a strong toehold and takes power. And this leaves another generation to have someday fight to stop its spread.

Yeah, if it’s not stopped, there will definitely be a reckoning.

Here’s a live version of the song from several years ago. I am playing it to let you hear Bragg’s cockney accent and a few words on the song as he introduces it. The painting at the top is my A Time For Reckoning which is still at the West End Gallery and was part of my recent show there. I think it pairs well with this song and these times.

Have a good day.


 

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I was checking YouTube yesterday to see if the videos from last week’s Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery were being viewed. As I came to my page I saw a strange looking entry among my suggested videos. It was my name as a title appearing to overlay what I could see was my work underneath.

There was lettering above my name that appeared to me to be Korean. Clicking on it, I saw that it was a compilation of my work set to three pieces of music with photos of me along with what appeared to be biographical info, all gleaned from the internet.

It’s a strange sensation to see your work in this way, compiled and used by someone else. I am sure there are those of you out there who feel I should be upset over the unauthorized use of my imagery in this way and maybe you’re right. But I knew that once I began putting my work online as I do, it would possibly be subject to this sort of thing. I felt it was worth the risk in order to get my work out there.

I sometimes at gallery talks tell the story of the great photographer Brassai asking his best known subject and friend Pablo Picasso for advice on selling some drawings he had created. For how much should he sell them, for example. Picasso, who liked the Brassai drawings, told him to put a very low price on them because he needed them to get out into the world where they could be known and be seen. Where they could establish a name and achieve a noteworthiness that might one day make all his work valuable. Picasso claimed that had been his route.

It’s advice I still give young artists.

And that’s how I view this– a result of putting my work out into the world.

Actually, I am happy and flattered that my work has reached across the world and translates well into other cultures. You go into this hoping your work speaks to all people and to get a small bit of proof that it might doing that is gratifying.

There are worst things in this world.

Take a look, if you so desire. I could do without the photos of myself but I like the musical accompaniment’s different moods. Have a good day.

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I don’t believe that there’s anything I’d like to do less than watch myself talk. And the last couple of days have sure reinforced that belief.

But that’s what I’ve done for the last couple of days as I have edited the video from Saturday’s Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery. I am cutting out some rough spots between the segments, such as where I swing my camera around to tour the gallery a bit or the transition from the prize drawing (which has also been cut) to the Q&A segment. Outside of the prize drawing, which we decided to cut because of privacy concerns, no real content has been cut.

There are going to be two videos. This first one presents just my prepared presentation. The second, which will be out  tomorrow or Friday, will have all the segments.

I’ve learned a lot from this experience and expect that these lessons will show up in future videos of even higher quality. Thanks to Jesse, Linda and John at the West End Gallery for all the extra work (and anxiety) that went into making this happen. It was a lot more work than any of us anticipated. And many thanks to everyone who took an hour or two out of a busy summer Saturday to tune and make it all happen. And congratulations to the winners of the paintings. Hope they live up to your expectations!

Hopefully, as it’s being presented, it will give you a fairly representative gallery talk experience. So, for those of you out there who wanted to take part but weren’t able, here’s the first part of my Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery.

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 I ain’t hurtin’ nobody
I ain’t hurtin’ no one

— John Prine

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Well, our first Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery has went by the wayside. Whew.

It was such a different experience from in person talks that I am still processing it. I will most likely address it in greater detail in coming days, including answering some of the questions that were asked in greater detail.

I am fairly happy with it thus far. And the feedback has been very good thus far. One unfortunate aspect was that I wasn’t able to see or hear the folks watching and we’re working to address that for future streaming events.

It was much more difficult than I had expected when the idea of doing this first came up. I know when it ended, the strain of it hit me almost immediately. Within minutes of it ending, I felt like I had been beat on with bag of pennies. I expected a sense of relief but wasn’t expecting that.

But it’s done. There’s something to build on now, to make future ones much better.

I want to extend a warm thank you to everyone who tuned in yesterday. There were well over a hundred viewers from 18 states and 4 different countries. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate those of you out there who took the time to listen to me yammer on for a while. I hope it made some sense for you and you feel that it was time well spent.

I also want to thank Jesse, Linda and John at the West End Gallery for giving me the opportunity and for the massive effort they put out in making it happen.

Though I hopefully look forward to standing in front of an audience for a gallery talk, here’s to more and better streams in the future. If you tuned in yesterday and have comments or criticisms that you think will help us make our presentations better, please let me know so we can improve. Thanks!

For this Sunday Morning Music, here’s a song I referenced yesterday from John Prine, I Ain’t Hurtin’ Nobody.

Again thank you so much and have a good day.

 

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“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

― Beverly Sills

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I guess Beverly Sills is right but this is a lot more work than I thought it would be.

I am talking about getting ready for the Virtual Gallery Talk I am giving on Saturday from the West End Gallery. There is, of course, always a certain amount of preparation for any talk. But this year’s talk without an audience has me scrambling. There’s a whole new layer of technology to adopt in a short time while trying to make it look cohesive and somewhat smooth.

I don’t want to look like a complete idiot, after all.

But beyond the technological hurdles, my presentation as to be changed to account for not being able to interact with a live audience. Normally, I try to have a few things ready to discuss and begin with a pretty short intro before moving quickly to questions from the audience. I try to get into questions and answers as soon as possible because I think that my reactions to questions are one of my strengths.

I could be wrong there. I am hesitant to say any quality of mine is a strength for fear of being that guy who over esteems his prowess at far too many things.

You know the type.

But if I had to say I had a strength it would be in my willingness to react to and honestly answer questions in these situations. At least, I am better at it than I am as delivering prepared remarks. But because of the remoteness of the talk, I really have to prepare to deliver a short address, of sorts, fully worded and thought out beforehand. Without the benefit of being able to react.

For a lazy slob like me, that is a tough task. Makes me truly admire those folks I know who deliver speeches and prepared remarks.

But I am working at it and hopefully you won’t even see the rivers of flop sweat running down my face during the talk. I am thinking of doing the old  trick of smearing vaseline on camera my lens so that it gives me a soft gauzy look. I think they used to do that for Doris Day at some point. If it works for Doris, then dammit, I am willing to give it a shot.

All kidding aside, it is hard work and we are really trying to send out a Gallery Talk that is rewarding for everyone who takes the time out of their busy lives to spend a little time with us on Saturday.

I am giving away two original paintings so I hope you can be there!

Here are the details:

  • Virtual Gallery Talk with GC Myers
  • Streaming from West End Gallery via Zoom
  • Saturday, August 22 Beginning at 1 PM EST
  • You do not need a Zoom account but you do need to register to participate
  • There will be a drawing at the end of the Talk (approx 2 PM EST) to award two GC Myers paintings
  • Participation n the Talk is limited to 500 viewers but the prize drawing is limited to the first 100 registrants for the Gallery Talk
  • Eligible registrants must be present online in order to claim their prize and the Gallery Talk will be locked to new participants at 1:30 PM
  • The winning paintings will be shipped free within the US and Canada to winners residing out of the area. However, if an international entry wins, the winner would be responsible for shipping costs.
  • The regular Gallery Talk ends after the drawing for the two paintings which will be approximately 2 PM EST
  • At that point, about 2 PM, the meeting will be unlocked and there will be a Gallery After Talk, an  additional period of Q & A after the regular Gallery Talk for anyone who cares to talk a but longer. This period can run to 3 PM, if need be.
  • There will be a Waiting Room on Zoom 10-20 minutes prior to the beginning of the Talk. You can check in and chat with other participants at that time. While muted, you can still submit questions or comments via the Chat.

 

REGISTER FOR TALK BY CLICKING HERE!

 

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Here are the details:

  • Virtual Gallery Talk with GC Myers
  • Streaming from West End Gallery via Zoom
  • Saturday, August 22 Beginning at 1 PM EST
  • You do not need a Zoom account but you do need to register to participate
  • There will be a drawing at the end of the Talk (approx 2 PM EST) to award two GC Myers paintings
  • Participation n the Talk is limited to 500 viewers but the prize drawing is limited to the first 100 registrants for the Gallery Talk
  • Eligible registrants must be present online in order to claim their prize and the Gallery Talk will be locked to new participants at 1:30 PM
  • The winning paintings will be shipped free within the US and Canada to winners residing out of the area. However, if an international entry wins, the winner would be responsible for shipping costs.
  • The regular Gallery Talk ends after the drawing for the two paintings which will be approximately 2 PM EST
  • At that point, about 2 PM, the meeting will be unlocked and there will be a Gallery After Talk, an  additional period of Q & A after the regular Gallery Talk for anyone who cares to talk a but longer. This period can run to 3 PM, if need be.
  • There will be a Waiting Room on Zoom 20-30 minutes prior to the beginning of the Talk. You can check in and chat with other participants at that time. While muted, you can still submit questions or comments via the Chat.

 

REGISTER HERE BY CLICKING HERE!

 

So, we’re on our way! It’s actually pretty simple but if you have questions or comments, just drop me a line. We’re trying to make this whole thing as smooth for you and for us as possible. Hope to see you Saturday!

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“Magistrum”- You Could Win This Painting at Saturday’s Virtual Gallery Talk!

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“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

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At a size of about 11″ by 15″ on paper and under glass, this painting is the second of the paintings that will be awarded as part of a free drawing at the end of my Virtual Gallery Talk this Saturday, August 22. It is titled Magistrum which is the Latin word for teacher or master.

It’s fitting that the snip I am using to start this post is from The Once and Future King from T.H. White. Reading was a big part of my childhood, a connection to the wider world and the key to unlocking the secrets of it. Books were the teacher, the master, I never had in any one person and I remember it well when I first came across this book. The story of the education of the young King Arthur by Merlin, it was delightful tale that really excited my imagination and, with its emphasis on learning and observing, reinforced my own quest to learn.

Merlin is correct, learning is the best thing for being sad. It changes the mind, building new structures upon it that make the whole thing so much stronger. In these days where, as Merlin points out, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, it is indeed a good thing to not wallow in sadness. Best to learn something new, expand that mind and see the world with wiser eyes.

That’s kind of what I see in this painting. The Red Tree here is the teacher urging its students to come out into the light, emerge from their state of blueness.

So, if you feel blue these days, open your mind and try to learn something unknown to you. Read something new. Look at things closer. Imagine the world through the eyes of others.

It’ll do you a world of good. That I can say with certainty.

Now the Virtual Gallery Talk from the West End Gallery takes place this Saturday, August 22, from 1-2 PM EST. Tomorrow, we will be posting the information on how to preregister for the Talk with Zoom. You do not have to have a Zoom account but you will need to register to participate and view. Though the Talk will be open to all, the drawing for the two paintings will be limited to the first 100 registrants. The chosen winners will have to be present (online!) at the Gallery Talk to claim their prize.

So make sure you get your name in when we roll out the info tomorrow. Good luck!

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“Heart of Light”- To Be Awarded At This Saturday’s Virtual Gallery Talk

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“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old man to his son. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you.”

The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The old man replied simply, “The one you feed.”

Wendy Mass, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

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This is a battle that I know well. I don’t know about you but I suspect many of you have witnessed this same conflict within yourselves.

Experience has taught me that, indeed, feeding and nurturing one wolf makes it stronger so that the other one that is not fed slinks into the background. That other evil wolf remains always just far enough away in the shadows, however, waiting for a sliver to fall its way that will strengthen it, allowing it to once more fight for dominance.

Which wolf are you feeding today?

This is a roundabout way of getting to the painting shown at the top, It’s a 12″ by 12″ piece on canvas called Heart of Light. and is one of the 2 paintings to be given away at the end of my Virtual Gallery Talk that will be streaming online from the West End Gallery this coming Saturday. The Talk begins at 1 PM EST and runs until 2 PM. Details on registering for the drawing will be forthcoming tomorrow or Wednesday.

I would like to think I am feeding my good wolf with this but it seems pretty arrogant to call this annual giving away of a painting an act of generosity.

And that is feeding that evil wolf.

Maybe I believe I am feeding my good wolf because it brings me joy to express in this small way the gratitude I feel for those folks out there that have allowed me to have this life an artist, one that allows for my many shortcomings.

Who knows?

Good wolf or bad, I know that this painting will be given away on Saturday. Hope you will be there.

In the meantime, feed your good wolf well. I will try to do the same.

 

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Well, we are this much closer to having a Gallery Talk this year at the West End Gallery.

Here’s what we have so far:

  • The Talk will be streamed live online via Zoom
  • It will be streamed from the West End Gallery
  • The Gallery Talk will take place next Saturday, August 22, beginning at 1 PM EST
  • The traditional Free Drawing for an original painting of mine will take place at approximately 2 PM EST
  • The Talk will end at 2 PM but there will be a short Gallery AfterTalk for any additional Q&A for those who wish to stick around
  • There will be a pre-registration for the drawing 
  • The Drawing will be limited to the first 100 registrants

We decided on streaming from the West End Gallery simply because it would be easier to handle the technical aspects of the streaming, especially since this is a new experience for both the gallery and myself. Plus, just having a few folks on hand will take away that feeling of talking to myself that I sometimes get when talking to a camera.

I had mentioned doing a Studio Tour and if this works out satisfactorily that is definitely something I will consider for the future. It opens up lots of avenues to explore going forward.

Full details will be coming in the next couple of days so keep yours eye open.

 

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