Art: Reality, Grief and Truth

A 2014 artwork by Tim Noble and Sue Webster entitled The Masterpiece sparked my imagination. This piece of art spoke to me of reality, grief and truth. Before I elaborate on my thoughts, please take a look at the image in the following link.

Art and Truth

This particular work amazes me as It sparks ideas of reality, grief, truth, object, illusion, shadow, light, Plato and confirmation bias. Wow, that was a mouthful! Initially upon viewing this work, I noted the striking double portrait shadow upon the wall. These profiles happen to be of the two artists, Noble and Webster.

Next, I noticed the object, a silvery sculpture in front. I was intrigued that the shadow cast was actually from a light shining upon the object. Obviously the angle of our view of the sculpture is different from the angle of the light. Next, one must decide whether the sculpture is a thing of beauty. It is cast in silver, normally something reserved for things of value and prominence. Shockingly, the three dimensional part is actually dead vermin cast in silver and carefully arranged to form the artists’ profiles in shadow. Perhaps this may change your opinion of the concept of beauty. Many times artworks may create numerous emotions for various reasons. Indeed, this is a masterpiece, perhaps even more so by virtue of all the conflicting emotions involved!

Reality and Truth

This artwork took me back to college philosophy discussions on Plato. In the Grecian days of 5th Century BCE, Plato created the Allegory of the Cave. In a nutshell, it is representing average people as being imprisoned in chains and facing the wall of a cave. The only thing visible to these people is shadows upon the wall. The shadows are created by puppet masters parading cutout images in front of a fire or sunlight, all hidden behind the people. Hence, they are only capable of experiencing reality as mere two dimensional shadows. As the shadows are all that the people can see, they assume that is the truth. Here is an illustration and further explanation of it.

As viewers of The Masterpiece, we are privileged to be given not only the shadow, but also the object. Also, when this artwork is visited in person, the light is visible to the viewer.

Grief and Truth

Let’s examine this work in terms of grief. These little critters were once living beings who served a purpose with their lives. Now, they are no longer living and are preserved in a unique way. First of all, The Masterpiece may give one strong feelings of grief or perhaps relief or disgust when contemplating the demise of the vermin. It is ironic that something so potentially gruesome can create a shadow of a thing of beauty.

Now, let’s think about personal grief. Sometimes it is just too easy to focus on the shadows of sorrow. The tragedy of losing a loved one is typically a dark and trying time. What helps me the most is to think of all of us as light beings. Our bodies are merely a temporary vehicle for our true selves. (With the energy healing work as well as Spring Forest Qigong practice, I have seen that we are truly made of light!) This helps so much to have visualized our light in terms of grief. I only wish all of us could soon learn to see it.


Our world seems to have had difficulty in finding and expressing truth. So many groups have had diametrically opposite viewpoints. Perhaps an element of truth may lie in both sides. (Funny I used the word lie there.) Here are some things to consider. Are we focusing on a flat, two-dimensional shadow? Do we have a confirmation bias? Do our experts have a confirmation bias? Have we thought about the issue in a three dimensional manner, examining many angles as well as the length, width, and depth of it? Are our answers complete and accurate beyond a shadow of doubt? In searching for truth, a blast of light can illuminate the falsehoods and reveal the truth. I will say, sometimes truth isn’t pretty, but truth wasn’t running for a beauty contest.

Finally, can we approach truth with a flowering of love for one another? Perhaps this love could also be equated with light. That for which we are searching must include the best interests of one another, the future of humankind. The powerful lyrics in this song say it all regarding art: reality, grief and truth!

Published by Linda M. Wolfe

Midwestern mystic with varying amounts of mother, teacher, artist, seeker

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