Celebrating 20 Years of the Red Tree

GC Myers began showing at Principle Gallery in 1997 and he has remained a gallery staple. His style is unmistakable because of the iconic movement within his paintings; the rendering of clouds, hillsides, pathways, skies, water, and his celebrated red tree.

GC Myers’ Solo Exhibition opens THIS FRIDAY! This exhibition is a very special milestone because it marks Gary’s 20th solo show with us!

“This years show is my twentieth [at Principle Gallery] and the title, ‘Red Tree 20: New Growth’ reflects the voyage from that first show, ‘Redtree’ back in 2000.”

GC Myers

Something Different

As any successful artist knows, evolving their work is crucial in maintaining their success and Gary understands this well. He is always searching for new ways to create, experimenting with colors and shapes, discovering new compositions, and incorporating new elements. For Red Tree 20 he has embraced a new series called Multitudes. The series’ title was discovered in a Walt Whitman poem titled Song of Myself first written in 1855 and the final edition was written 1892.

Song of Myself (1892 version) by Walt Whitman, Part 51
The Following | 20×20, acrylic on canvas – click here for more

Pay attention to the line; “Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” This is where Myers found his inspiration.

What are Multitudes?

Gary describes his multitudes as “large groups of faces that are painted in an almost subconscious manner, with little if any forethought given as to how they relate to the surrounding faces.”

The Evacuation | 12×24, acrylic on canvas – click here for more

“They emerge from dashes of paint and quickly rendered shapes that cause me to simply find human form in them.”

GC Myers
Faces Off | 24×12, acrylic on canvas – click here for more

Myers is finally unveiling this style because he felt the skills and visual vocabulary he needed to create these paintings have fully developed.

“If I had done this years ago, I think it would have been lacking the color, rhythm and forms needed to make them effective.”

GC Myers
Boxed In | 18×24, acrylic on canvas – click here for more

An Interview with GC Myers

Q. Is there something or someone who inspires you daily?

A. Hmm. Tough question. I am tremendously fortunate to have a large and solid base of collectors and others who follow my work. The simple knowledge that there is this existing audience and that my work is going to be seen is very inspiring. I often feel like there are a multitude of eyes gazing over my shoulder in the studio and that allows me – no, forces me – to try to be even bolder within my work. It’s a constant feeling of communication and connection that I find to be very inspiring.

Q. Is there a specific project, commission, personal creation, etc, that you are particularly proud of? What makes it so significant?

A. I was very proud of a show of my work that hung in 2012 at the Fenimore Art Museum. At the beginning of the show I was nervous being there, feeling that I wasn’t worthy. In the larger gallery space next to the gallery holding my work was an exhibit of American Impressionists. There was great work from Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, and many other greats. There was even a Monet. I asked myself how I deserved to be hanging there, in sight of such work. Why me?

But after a bit, after seeing people respond so positively to my work, I began to realize that while they had bigger names, the artists in that adjoining gallery were no different than me. They were simply individuals trying to express their view of the world in their own way and communicate that across time. As was I.

By the end of the show, the question was no longer, “Why me?” It became, “Why not me?”

And that was an important distinction, a major step forward in the belief in that what I was doing was valid, that it mattered in some way.

GC Myers’ studio

Q. What does it mean to be creative and how essential is creativity to making a successful work of art?

A. That’s a tough question because I don’t know how one defines or quantifies creativity. I don’t think it is mere cleverness or craftiness because that doesn’t always make the greatest art. For me, creativity is in our unique perception of the world, that ability to see what is before us and to perceive more.  To make more of what is given to us. Or, to put it another way, to make the invisible visible.

Q. Which museum is your favorite to visit?

A. Always enjoy the National Gallery and the American Art Museum here in the DC area. And the Phillips Collection is great. In NYC, of course, the Met is wonderful. However, the Frick is a personal favorite.

Q. What serves as your artistic motivation?

A. My primary motivation is the same as it was when I was six years old—to have my voice heard, to have the world know that I exist and that my vision and voice are unique.

Now, working alone in the studio for many years now, my motivation, my challenge, comes in trying to create a sense of excitement for the work in myself. I know that if I am not excited or moved by what I am doing, I am not moving forward, not progressing toward a goal of deeper self-expression. The giddy excitement that comes with even small breakthroughs is a sign of progress. It makes the thousands of hours spent in the studio alone seem well spent.

Plus, I know that if I can find excitement in the work then most likely that will be true for others as well.  Conversely, if I am not excited, I can’t expect others to feel excitement.

I Stand Before You | 12×36, acrylic on canvas – click here for more

Q. How do you sustain your ambition?

A. One way is to constantly extend my goals, to never feel that I have reached an acceptable plateau. To do this, I am always tinkering with my processes, adding new materials and elements to my work. But it comes down to simply trying to work every day, to make a mark or develop a new concept. To even read or hear something new. Work is a self-propelling engine that opens up everything for me, creating new ideas and paths forward. Work begets work.

Q. Have you been faced with discouragement? If so, how did you overcome it?

A. That’s a loaded question. I mean, what artist hasn’t been faced with discouragement? And art is such a personal thing where you are putting yourself out there, opening yourself to judgement and criticism every day, that to not feel discouraged once in a while would not be a human response. So, yes, I have had crises of confidence, to the point that I can readily identify and cope with them. Sometimes they are internal, where I feel that I am not reaching far enough, that I am missing the mark with my work. Sometimes, they are external— the uncertain nature of the art market in relation to your work or even the uncertainty of your place in a gallery. I used to feel threatened when hot new artists were brought into any gallery in which I showed my work, feeling that they would somehow replace me. But time has taught me that I can only control my own work and if I focus solely on that, things generally work out.

Q. In the beginning of your career, what was the best piece of advice you were given? Who gave it to you?

A. One piece of advice was from a college professor for the only art class I ever took, a drawing class that I enrolled in because I wanted to pursue architecture and needed to build a portfolio. It was an awful night class and the professor just wanted to get out of there ASAP each night to hit the bars. He half-heartedly did everything and I felt cheated by the whole experience. But he did pass on one bit that I still hold onto: Make your marks with confidence and own them.

I don’t know where the other piece of advice came from. But it hit the mark for me. It is: Paint the pictures you want to see. I always felt I was never fully seeing what I truly wanted to see in any art. Only bits and pieces here and there, even among my favorite artists. In fact, if somebody had produced what I wanted to see, I might well not be an artist today. It sounds simplistic but it is something every artist should pay attention to—make the art you want to see or hear or feel.

GC Myers’ Solo Exhibition!

Join us THIS FRIDAY, June 7th from 6:30-9pm for the opening reception of GC Myers’ 20th Annual Solo Exhibition! Gary will be here to celebrate!

Below you will find a few of this years featured works, if you see something of interest or would like to request GC Myers Exhibition Preview, please contact info@principlegallery.com

Redtree: New Growth | 36×24, acrylic on canvas – click here for more

If you are unable to attend Friday’s opening, click here to view the entire exhibition online!

Mantra 16 | 17×17, acrylic on paper – click here for more
The Pharaoh’s Necklace | 18×24, acrylic on panel – click here for more
In Radiance | 24×24, acrylic on canvas – click here for more