Circle of Truth, June 2021

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Category: Upcoming Exhibitions


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Ed Ruscha, Sequence #49, 2016, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of the artist.

Circle of Truth is the visual equivalent of the childhood game where a message whispered in the ear of a first person, then relayed to a second person, a third, and so on until the original message becomes so mangled by its reinterpretation that by the time it arrives at its final understanding the words hardly bear any resemblance to the original.

This domino chain started with a source painting created by Circle of Truth co-curator Shane Guffogg, whose work was delivered anonymously, along with a blank canvas, to the second artist in “the Circle.” Each subsequent artist then received an identical package: the anonymously created previous artist’s painting, a blank canvas, and the instructions to find and paint their response to the “truth” that they saw in the first painting. This chain was repeated to some 49 artists over a period of nine years.

The resulting exhibition and accompanying catalogue provides a compelling insight into the creative process. The particular vision each artist brings to this “Circle of Truth” shows us just how differently we all see the world. Sequentially hung from the first painting, Shane Guffogg’s musing on the spatial ratio of “the golden mean” evolved to painting number 49 by Ed Ruscha who muses on an alternative truth with his work titled “In”.

This visual dialogue conducted by some of our leading contemporary artists could not be more relevant in a time when “fake news” has become the currency of the media. It raises questions of perception, integrity, and authenticity and the state of ethical values and in contemporary society. Perhaps we come away with the idea that “truth” itself is relative. Or perhaps the “Circle of Truth” asks us a series of larger questions such as: “What is our responsibility to preserve truth? How does the subtle erosion of our belief in “truth” affect us? The “Circle of Truth” asks us to join in the conversation and decide for ourselves where we stand.

Join our Circle of Friends!

Spring-Summer 2021 at SAM: No gala. No spring appeal. Just this opportunity to be part of our Circle of Friends Wall and Video during the Circle of Truth exhibition. Help us celebrate those who support the arts and art education!

DEADLINE: Friday, May 21, 2021, 5 pm

Adopt more than one to honor family members or a favorite nonprofit. Recruit friends to adopt a painting together.

See more information about Circle of Truth giving opportunities HERE

Participating Artists (chronological)

1. Shane Guffogg
2. Lisa Adams
3. Margaret Lazzari
4. Jim Morphesis
5. Alison Van Pelt
6. Matthew Thomas
7. John Scane
8. Michelle Weinstein
9. Vonn Sumner
10. Ruth Weisberg
11. Stanley Dorfman
12. Kim Kimbro
13. Charles Arnoldi
14. Ron Griffin
15. Doro Hofmann
16. Paul Ruscha
17. Randall Cabe
18. Rhea Carmi
19. Dan Lutzick
20. Daniel Peacock
21. Susan McDonnell
22. Lynn Hanson
23. Michael Andrew Rosenfeld
24. Bari Kumar
25. Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez
26. Andy Moses
27. Tim Isham
28. Cheryl Ekstrom
29. Greg Colson
30. Alex Gross
31. Gary Panter
32. Justin Bower
33. Lita Albuquerque
34. Kim Abeles
35. Deborah Martin
36. Jeff Colson
37. Eddie Ruscha
38. Billy Al Bengston
39. Christopher Monger
40. Todd Williamson
41. Jimi Gleason
42. Mark Licari
43. Virginia Broersma
44. Bruce Richards
45. Rives Granade
46. Robert Williams
47. Cal Lane
48. Lisa Bartleson
49. Ed Ruscha


Thank you to our Gold Level Sponsor Anne M. and Philip H. Glatfelter, III Family Foundation for their generous support of Circle of Truth.

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  • Ed Ruscha, Sequence #49, 2016, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of the artist.