Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘West End Gallery’

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.

Read Full Post »

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.


Read Full Post »

“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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

*******************************

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.

*****************************

 

Read Full Post »

Before the Gallery Talk

********************

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me around
I feel numb, born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun

The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground, head in the sky
It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong, nothing

David Byrne, This Must Be the Place

**********************

I was looking for a piece of music to play for this week’s Sunday morning music that kind of jibed with the experience of yesterday’s Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery and I came across the lyrics for This Must Be the Place from David Byrne and Talking Heads. Had to laugh because the first two stanzas, shown above, described my feelings about it perfectly.

I certainly begin every talk feeling that home is where I want to be.

I feel like I am picked up and turned around for examination.

Certainly feel numb and a little vulnerable, a little weak of heart.

But I guess I must be having fun.

That’s just the first stanza. I don’t have to paraphrase the second. It’s spot on as it is.

Many, many, many thank you’s to everyone who came out to yesterday’s Gallery Talk. You were a fantastic group.

And an exceptionally large on. We brought in extra chairs but by about twenty to one, when the talk was to begin, all of the seats were filled. A lot more folks came in after that  and had to stand. We may have to bring in bleachers and a warm up act for next year’s talk!

But it was the folks that were there yesterday that made this talk successful and, dare I say, fun. It was a wonderful mixture of people, young and old, new faces and familiar faces. They asked great questions, overlooked my gaffes, laughed at the right times and made me feel like I was having a casual conversation with some friends over a lunch table. That is a remarkable thing for a guy who would always rather be in his studio alone.

But yesterday, for that hour or so, in that gallery with a large group of friends to talk with, it certainly felt like that must be the place. That’s a gift to me and I can’t tell you how appreciative I am to receive that gift from all who were there yesterday. Thank you so much.

Going to be hard to top this year’s talk but next year, but we’ll try. I promise someone will get that Gremlin next year!

Here’s a great performance of This Must Be the Place from Talking Heads. Have a great day.

Read Full Post »

Well, the Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery is coming tomorrow and I am getting things ready.

I have gotten the ingredients together for the cooking demonstration of dishes from my new cookbook, Recipes From the Lonely Man Buffet. Actually, this didn’t take long- it’s a single can of Heinz Vegetarian Beans eaten out of the can over the kitchen sink. My cookbook is very thin.

I have shined my kazoo so it shines brightly when I play a few selections from my upcoming CD, KazooPaloozah: Live from the Lonely Man Buffet.

I am also working on my impressions of 19th century British Prime Ministers. I’ve got both Gladstone and Disraeli down cold. You’ll think they’re in the room!

And…

Okay, I’ve had enough. Let me be honest for a moment.

Tomorrow is the Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery. It begins at 1 PM.

It will consist of me, a middle-aged guy with a bad haircut and a few extra pounds, talking about art and some other stuff for a short time. I encourage– actually, I depend on– questions and interaction with the audience. Hopefully, I will transmit some information and maybe make you laugh once or twice.

There will be refreshments. Yes, we will feed you and have drinks of some sort.

There will be seats for most of you so get there early to grab one.

Most importantly, at the end there will be a drawing for the painting, Night Oath. You can see it at the top. It sizes out with mat and frame at 18″ by 27″, so it is not a small piece. 

Plus, there are other prizes that I will not disclose at this time. If you have attended in the past, you know what I am talking about.

And it’s all free for anyone who stumbles through the door and sits through an hour of me trying to sell you timeshares for Alabama Shores, a condo overlooking a small pond in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oops, I let the cat out of the bag.

Okay, that’s obviously not true. But seriously, I make this promise: It will not be the worst hour you ever spend.

What more could you ask for?

Hope to see you there tomorrow.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

As the next couple of days are crazy busy for me as I get ready for a Gallery Talk and a show delivery, I wanted to share another little seen piece that will be part of  Icons & Exiles, my exhibit that opens next Friday at the Octagon Gallery.

The piece is Two Sides, shown here on the right. It’s from my Outlaws series from back in 2006 and is one of my favorites from that series. There is something about the dark and light of this piece that gives me a sense of the yin and the yang symbol, the idea that we all have opposing polarities within ourselves.

Two sides.

The Outlaws series introduced the element of a handgun into my work. It wasn’t meant to show the gun in any heroic form. Rather, the gunmen in these paintings seem to be, for me, all possessed with a deep and mortal fear.

The gun in these paintings is a sign of weakness, not strength. They fear something they can’t see, something that they don’t know or understand.

This particular painting has hung within my sight in the studio and it helps me a lot personally. When the events of the world–outer and inner– get to me and I feel anxiety building, I look at this piece and it reminds me that my anxiousness is all built on fear. In that moment, I see I am that guy grasping tightly to my gun looking out at nothing, imagining unseen monsters that are coming for me.

Just naming it as fear makes it subside a bit, brings everything into a more practical and manageable form. I can choose to be scared of bogeymen or can move on with a degree of confidence that I will be capable of handling anything that comes my way.

Fear is a powerful thing, a weakness that alters our perceptions and enables poor decisions and actions.

Fear is the darkness and courage is the light. Holding onto that gun keeps this person in the darkness, in the grip of fear.

That’s what I see in this piece.

You can see this piece and many more like it at the Icons & Exiles exhibit, opening next Friday, August 23, (opening reception 7-9 PM) at the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield, NY. The exhibit runs until September 20, 2019 and I will be giving an Art Talk there on Thursday, September 12, at 6 PM.

And this Saturday, August 17, there is my annual Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery, beginning at 1 PM. Good talk, some laughs and, best of all, PRIZES! See you there!

Here’s one of my favorites from Richard Thompson, an acoustic version of his classic Shoot Out the Lights.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: