The Principle Gallery on King Street in Old Town kicked off its summer solo show June 7 with a celebration of the art of GC Myers. Myers has been a staple of the gallery since 1997. His iconic style, reminiscent of Japanese woodcuts, Art Nouveau, and the simplistic artisan-style painting popularized during the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century, makes him a favorite artist at the premier Alexandria commercial art space.
“Red Tree 20 New Growth” is the latest examination by Myers of a recurring theme: the red tree. The red tree along with the red-roofed house appear in most of the 44 works on exhibit. A few other paintings feature multiple incarnations of various male heads in profile filling, the canvas en masse. “Red Tree” marks the 20th solo show of GC Myers’ work at the Principle Gallery in 22 years.
The paintings are rendered in a mosaic formation of color and composition. There’s a graphic quality to the acrylics on canvas which translates effortlessly onto paper. Paintings on paper appear to be stylized printmaking. The effect is magical and allegorical, each image telling a fantastical tale evocative of mystical folklore. One painting depicts a village comprised of entirely red roofs, much like those in Croatia, the model for Kings Landing in the finale of Game of Thrones.
GC Myers is a self-taught artist who discovered his painting ability while recovering from a life-altering accident. His work reflects the powerful transitive and transformative nature of art and expressive imagination.
“I wanted to create paintings that lived only in the moment they were viewed…Perhaps in that moment they [the viewer] would feel the same rejuvenation I have felt,” said Myers, “perhaps they can see their own place in the journey and would stop to take in the sights along the way.”
The opening night reception at the Principle Gallery in historic Gilpin House was bustling with admirers. GC Myers greeted patrons and casual passers-by as if they were old friends. The relaxed townhome ambiance of Gilpin House is always welcoming. Multiple hearths adorned with art, exposed brick walls flooded with natural light from the skylight above, and French doors beckoning a peek at the intimate English garden adjacent to the original cobblestone alley beyond, create a homey feel.
Longtime Old Towners will fondly recall when Gilpin House was a charming book, gift, and stationery establishment. The southern charm and hospitable esprit de Olde Towne carry on with the engaging gallery staff and expertly curated artwork exhibited upstairs and down.
George Gilpin, a surveyor as well as a builder and engineer, was a close friend and business associate of George Washington. He served with General Washington during the New Jersey Campaign and at the Battle of Germantown, and Gilpin surveyed Alexandria in 1798.
ALEXANDRIA,VA-The Principle Gallery specializes in contemporary realism. From modern trompe l’oeil to photorealistic interiors, fantastical portraiture, and palette-sculpted landscapes, an exceptional breadth of talent is demonstrated. While many of GC Myers’ works had already sold, another painting in the gallery was also garnering a spotlight. Michele Kortbawi Wilk’s 48X48 oil and silver-leaf painting of a silverback gorilla drew quite a crowd and, at $6,000, it was a relative bargain.
It’s fun to imagine a time-traveling George Washington arriving at 21st century Alexandria, popping in at 208 King Street to pay a visit to his good friend George Gilpin. Dodging scooters, horseless carriages, and tourists with triple-scoop towers of melting ice cream, the General would undoubtedly find welcome sanctuary in the diversions of the Principle Gallery. He just might discover that perfect GC Myers painting to hang over the hearth in his study at Mount Vernon.
The Principle Gallery
208 King Street, Alexandria
Hours: Monday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.