Artist and Author of “Americans Who Tell the Truth” Robert Shetterly to Speak at the Harlow Gallery

Join us at the Harlow Gallery at 7pm on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 when artist and writer Robert Shetterly will discuss his book AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH, and the exhibitions of portraits from the book.

Robert Shetterly’s life changed when he learned of the horror of September 11 in 2001. Robert used his art as a way to work through his anger and grief by reading about and then painting portraits of the people he admired. The resulting book, AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH is filled with portraits of courageous people from American history, as well as contemporary Americans; Walt Whitman, Martin Luther King Jr, Margret Chase Smith, General Dwight Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Norm Chomsky, Helen Keller, Howard Zinn and Maine artist and activist Natasha Mayers to name a few. The artist will bring eight of his portraits and discuss the process of creating AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH, the evolution of his ideas about art & history in general and the ethical obligations of citizens. Questions and open discussion are encouraged.

ArtTalks are free and open to the public thanks to our season sponsor, Savings Bank of Maine.


Robert Shetterly explains the project in his artist statement:

“I began painting this series of portraits — finding great Americans who spoke the truth and combining their images with their words — nearly three years ago as a way of to channel my anger and grief. In the process my respect and love for these people and their courage helped to transform that anger into hope and pride and allowed me to draw strength from this community of truth tellers, finding in them the courage, honesty, tolerance, generosity, wisdom and compassion that have made our country strong. One lesson that can be learned from all of these Americans is that the greatness of our country frequently depends not on the letter of the law, but the insistence of a single person that we adhere to the spirit of the law.

My original goal was to paint fifty portraits. I’ve now gone beyond that and have decided to paint several more. The more I’ve learned about American history — past and present — the more people I’ve discovered whom I want to honor in this way. The paintings will not be for sale. They will stay together as a group. The courage of these individuals needs to remain a part of a great tradition, a united effort in respect for the truth. Eventually, I will give the portraits to one museum or library on the condition that they continue to be shown. These people form the well from which we must draw our future.”

Art Talks are free and open to the public. The Harlow Gallery is grateful to Gardiner Savings Bank of Maine for sponsoring the 2009 ArtTalk season.