Some kind of honesty

works from the Permanent Collection

November 24, 2021 – January 2, 2022

 

“I owe you the truth in painting and I will tell it to you” – Paul Cézanne to Emile Bernard, 1905

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth that is given to us to understand.” – Pablo Picasso to Marius de Zayas, 1923

These quotations speak to an ideology which has been uttered, written, or mused in various forms by countless thinkers about all sorts of art forms for years.  Artists like Braque and Picasso broke from traditional perspectival depictions and chose to reject the idea that art should copy nature to instead present multiple simultaneous perspectives in a way that understood and utilized the two-dimensionality of the canvas. In doing so, they were seeking to paint with a new kind of honesty. So too were the Realists through their documentarian approach and focus on “real” life; the Impressionists with their evocative colours and gestural strokes; the Automatists creating without conscious thought by accessing material from the unconscious mind; and the Minimalists, and the Expressionists, and of course, the artists of the high Renaissance and their revival of Platonic theory.

How do we tell the truth through art, and what even is truth? Is it scientific findings on the effects of light on the rods and cones of our retina, data informed applications of colour theory in Pointillism? Is it present in a photorealistic painting of a fruit with the beginnings of rot? Is it the careful rendering of light to evoke a specific feeling? Is it perfect two-point perspective and foreshortening? Is it a bicycle wheel attached to a stool? These varied works are gathered to think about the many modes through which we can be honest, and the many types of truths we value enough to spend the time to share with each other. As we rejoin our communities and remove our masks, it is useful to remember to be tender and careful and open.

The Art Gallery of Peterborough is Temporarily CLOSED to the public

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