BAR HARBOR — A closing reception for “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” an exhibit of paintings by Robert Shetterly, will be held at College of the Atlantic’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery on Thursday, Aug. 22, beginning at 5 p.m.
The portraits and narratives of the “Americans Who Tell the Truth” series highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003, with venues including everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City and the Superior Court in San Francisco.
The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it, he says.
Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life — from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement. After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely. For twelve years he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times, illustrated National Audubon’s children’s newspaper Audubon Adventures, and drew approximately 30 books.
Shetterly’s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings & etchings, “Speaking Fire at Stones,” which he wrote in collaboration with poet and COA professor emeritus Bill Carpenter, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell,” and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.
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