After a slow week in the productivity department, I went to look at art.
I was mesmerized by the massive, confusing, disturbing works in the first solo show by Diego Rodriguez-Warner. But I found the smaller pieces easier to digest.
Rodriguez-Warner carves and paints on wood panels. Bright colors, overlapping and twisting figures, false shadows, seemingly dead ends. The result is an eye-popping combination of primitive woodblock clarity and the depth of trompe l'oeil.
This guy pulls no punches. But there is trickery at work.
And so, the exhibit was called Honestly Lying.
After a week of creative struggle, the show invited me to think about the ways I “honestly lie” in order to keep my own art alive.
Here’s honest: I have more ideas for this blog than there are planes lined up over LaGuardia.
And here’s the lie: People out in the world are impatiently checking their feeds for me to land my next post.
But I would call that an “honest lie.”
Don’t we all—especially we artists and writers—need to believe in the relevance of our work? And don't we ache to be heard?
Let’s just admit it then. We tell ourselves honest lies all the time.
The work we do matters. The hurt we hold is justified. The landmines we avoid will disarm themselves if we can tiptoe a wide-enough berth.
I say, that's OK. As long as we know we are doing it.
So, for me, the important questions are these:
Which of our lies subvert our intention?
Which ones may lead to personal growth?
And which ones—like a night at the museum—might lead us, delightfully and circuitously, in the exactly in the right direction?