ArtRage: The Norton Putter Gallery

505 Hawley Avenue Syracuse, NY

Americans Who Tell The Truth, by Robert Shetterly

“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.”

Robert Shetterly

ArtRage has chosen 28 portraits from the 150 in the artist’s current collection. We intend for this exhibit to encourage a dialogue that will help each of us figure out which truths we value most as citizens in a threatened democracy. The portraits included in this exhibit are: Molly Ivins, Marion Wright Edelman, Winona La Duke, Sue Coe, Pat Humphries, Sandy O, Emma Goldman, Ida B. Wells, Helen Keller, Ann Wright, Murphy Davis, Joanna Macy, Kathy Kelly, Lateefah Simon, Emma Tenayuca, Howard Zinn, Mark Twain, Noam Chomsky, Pete Seeger, Dr. Paul Farmer, Roy Bourgeois, Muhammad Ali, Harry Hay, James Bell, Edward Said, Eugene Debs, LaAlan Jones and David Korten.