Visual Art

Panel Convenor: Aaron Rosen, Rocky Mountain College / King’s College London

Call for Papers:

“We all know that Art is not truth,” Pablo Picasso once admitted.  “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist,” he explained, “must know how to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”  Picasso’s cryptic comments introduce questions that are just as germane now as they were nearly a century ago.  Theologians might ask: Does an icon lie? Does the Incarnation reveal truth in materiality?  Does the Second Commandment condemn the deceitfulness of ‘graven images,’ or challenge artists to tell the truth? Scholars of visual culture might ask:  Has the binary between abstraction and representation outlived its usefulness? Should we trust artists’ accounts of their own inspirations and motivations? And what role do digital images, especially memes, play in the burgeoning marketplace for ‘alternate facts’?  Philosophers and literary scholars will have their own questions. For instance, does ekphrasis lie about lies, reveal multiple truths, or neither? Ultimately, we may need to settle for the fact that only a certain degree of truth “is given us to understand.” But this hardly renders the search for truth any less urgent.

This panel welcomes contributors from any discipline with an interest in images, as well as artists, who may wish to show examples of their own work.

Please send abstracts (300 words maximum) and a short biography (75 words maximum) to The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2018 (response from the panel can be expected towards the end of March or beginning of April). Ultimately, speakers will only be allowed to give one presentation at the conference so if you are submitting to another panel as well, please let us know so that we can liaise with the other strand chairs.