Adam Mysock

How did we get here?

30 October - 15 December 2018

ADAM MYSOCK

A Fairy Tale, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

There are few lies that are as absurd as the myth of the Easter Bunny – a giant version of an otherwise familiar creature sneaking in to deliver candy to children to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  

 

But there are a few things that work about this character. It is an acceptable visual replacement for an otherwise difficult story.  Kids probably wouldn’t celebrate a crucified Christ rising from the dead, so we give them this palatable incongruity instead. 

 

Through the Easter Bunny, we learn an early lesson on lying – if something doesn’t appeal to the masses (visually or otherwise), find a softer stand-in to appease them.

ADAM MYSOCK

An Incentive, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

For children who celebrate Christmas, there is an inevitable moment when we learn that there is in fact no real Santa Claus.  However it happens, that realization redefines our timelines into two distinct parts – a time when we trusted completely and a time when we were forced to think more critically, more skeptically.

 

In our education on lying, Santa’s narrative provides numerous lessons.  First, we learn how powerful rewards can be as motivation for someone to believe in the implausible. Secondly, the story illustrates the power of a lie when told en masse.   

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Cautionary Tale, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

Are there any more recognizable stories about the difficulties that can accompany lying than that of Pinocchio?  For the puppet-turned-boy, lying is the root of all hardship. He’s dishonest so, his nose grows. Chaos ensues. It’s that simple.

 

As soon as we realize that our noses don’t grow like Pinocchio’s, we appreciate that our lies aren’t always detectable. We can get away with lying if it’s handled carefully. We just have to determine what variables to control in any particular scenario.And that is a powerful insight.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Brush with Justice, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Sooner or later, we get caught lying. For most of us, it’s incredibly early in life, and the falsehood detected is innocuous. We’re scolded, briefly punished, and then allowed to go about our day. This happens with some regularity until our authorities trust in our awareness of morality.

 

It’s not always entirely clear whether or not a child has truly learned any distinction between right and wrong or whether they’ve just begun to understand the tolerance of certain authorities for lying. Maybe grandma and grandpa will let me get away with something mom and dad won’t. Very early, we learn to play to the crowd, to feel out an audience’s tolerance for bullshit and to stay just shy of that.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Constant, Attractive Artifice, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

For some reason, mannequins seemed to be everywhere when I was growing up. Maybe it was growing up during the heyday of malls in America. Nevertheless, with their clearly artificial features, postures, and groupings, mannequins have always been created to illustrate an unachievable version of reality, to establish an envy of something unreal.  

 

They are lies made physical. For a kid of the 1980s, they’re the earliest ancestor of any such effort. And they taught me a great deal about false persuasion. In order to deceive overwhelmingly, you’ve got to support your lies with something tangible.

ADAM MYSOCK

An Exciting Unknown, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

Developing almost simultaneously with my appreciation of mannequins, I fell in love with what I now know as cryptozoology. I remember watching various tv shows about figures like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster and being fascinated by the immateriality of these characters.

 

It was as if the more vague an idea, the more ownership our imaginations might exercise over it. When we are forced to fill in the multiple cracks of a particular narrative with our fears, expectations, or hopes, we become a part of that myth. And when we insert ourselves in a lie to settle it, it becomes that much harder to recognize the truth elsewhere.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Reliable Pardon, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

As we invariably test the waters of lying, we quickly learn to recognize the more forgiving members of an audience. Rest assured – someone loves you enough to overlook your dishonesty.

 

And it’s these people that indirectly encourage liars to escalate their fictitious experimentation. Each time we tell a greater lie, we turn to see how our most loving audience members receive us. If our supporters fail to draw a line in the sand, we grow braver with our lies and less tethered to anything grounding.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Counter Example, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

We’ve assigned a great deal of responsibility to our shared cultural figures when it comes to teaching lessons about truth, fiction, and morality. We used to tell stories about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree and then professing that he could not tell a lie. We’ve renamed Abraham Lincoln “Honest Abe” and recounted numerous tales of his integrity.

 

But we are rarely offered real-world or contemporary examples of such ethics. The concept of honesty is inadvertently assigned to history. But the perception of an honest lineage gives all of us the impression of a moral superiority, of a certain invented soapbox from which we can preach our opinions as truth. We use our shared, piecemeal history of honest men to blind ourselves to our digressions from truth.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

An Attempt at Morality, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Akin to the historical narratives we’re fed in an attempt to steer us away from a life of lies, the narrative of Adam, Eve, and the serpent in Genesis presents a clear set of tenets from which we’re expected to learn. Listen to God, get a good life. Follow a lie of a serpent (arguably the first lie), and you’ll be punished forever.

 

When we consider distance and degree, however, the parable’s message can be quickly cast aside. If there is any truth to the story of Eden, we’re now so many generations into the punishment that it has lost its threatening potential. And it takes very little experience to recognize that the punishment for an offense on the scale of eating a forbidden fruit is usually inconsequential. We have learned to accept the minor punishments that accompany most of our lying as a part of everyday life. They aren’t deterrents anymore.

ADAM MYSOCK

An Example to Avoid, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

Even when the punishments are significant, as Nixon’s were, they still have little impact in our current moment. Nixon still enjoys the privilege of being on every list of U.S. presidents. His actions while in office still had the weight of the Executive branch. It’s not like the country just stepped back a few years to 1969 and tried it again when Nixon resigned. 

 

Getting caught lying can’t erase your legacy. It might taint it, but we’ve gotten very proficient at weighing the risks of lying against the potential rewards.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

An Opportunity to Test, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Knowing what we do about insufficient consequences, we will always test the limits of acceptable lying. We’ll come to terms with a spectrum of lying – from little, white lies to bald-faced lies – and a classification system of lies – lies of omission, lies of commission, etc. And it won’t even matter if we’re aware that we’re doing it.

 

Lying has become a tool for achievement. If it benefits us once, we’ll always consider trying it again.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A First Apology, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

If we are caught lying, it is the suddenly being singled-out that proves most unsettling. We are temporarily relieved of our ability to define our own public image. It’s turned over to a judge or jury, and it forces us to become momentarily subservient to others.

 

But that term – momentarily – perhaps carries the most weight. There’s a pace to our lives in the digital era that prevents events from surviving for any great length of time. As long as we’re able to navigate the bumpiness of an initial accusation, we can take comfort in the fact that another liar will soon replace us in the public eye, that we’ll likely avoid any real atonement.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Lack of Consequence, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Forgive and forget. That’s what we’re taught to do with those who’ve wronged us. But what happens in a world without a memory? What if we’re unable to forgive if all we can do is forget?

 

When we lie, there’s someone or something injured. They are painted in a false light, as something they aren’t. We take away their agency of self-determination. 

 

If we are never required to seek forgiveness for such an action, we can’t be required to assume an empathy (albeit a forced empathy) for the objects of our lies. If lies don’t hound us, we have no obligation to learn about nuanced realities.Life becomes polar, and we can unassumingly maintain the disinterest that encourages lying in the first place. 

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Bid to Gain Attention, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

The concept of Munchausen Syndrome offers another perspective on lying. When we lie, we can get attention. If we’re good at it, we can even get sympathy. And everyone likes being cared for. 

 

Lies have the potential to establish relationships otherwise missing. Of course, they can also destroy relationships. It just takes a keen awareness of your audience and their available compassion.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Frail Attempt, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

We desire attention, but no one likes a show-off. So, we’ve sharpened our ability to practice false modesty. We pretend to cover ourselves but rehearse the bare minimum efforts in order to keep people engaged – just as Venus covers herself without hiding much.

 

This type of lying allows us to maintain an optimistic, internal conception of our own morality and humility, while publicly producing the opposite result. Outward gestures of lying allow us to construct psychological protections against our ability to recognize undesirable traits within ourselves.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Seduction, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

We have a wonderful capacity to impose fictions on others in order to make them desirable. We only need a few kernels of possibility to transform a fish into a beautiful mermaid when we’ve exhausted ourselves of all other options.

 

The lies we tell ourselves about others make the world a more exciting place, or certainly a more comfortable one. 

 

ADAM MYSOCK

An Overreach, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

There’s a fear of inferiority that lies behind so much misinformation. We don’t want our truest selves, our real, flawed selves to be criticized, so we use dishonesty to create protective barriers. In much the same way, the Dodo character in Alice in Wonderland attempts to conceal his ignorance with confidence.

 

When threatened with real or imagined criticism, lies offer a first line of defense. Our artifices keep us safe and untried. 

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Role Model, 2018

acrylic on canvas

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

When we combine the power of lies to persuade with their ability to establish a false hierarchy, we end up with Charles Ponzi – the eponym of the Ponzi Scheme. Charles Ponzi developed a fraud in which early investors in a nonexistent enterprise are paid from money invested by later investors. His lies required constant upkeep in order for it to succeed.

 

And this is the reality of lying – The maintenance of a lie is endless. The bigger the lie, the more time we spend caring for it.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Habit of It, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

Politicians are liars. All of them. From the moment they announce their candidacy, politicians need to flex their positions to appease the greatest number of constituents. We expect it as the voting public, and we dislike it when a politician fails to cater to us.

 

Republicans have turned such lying into a fine art. They’re damn good at it. But they’ve also gotten very good at reversing the relationship. Rather than adjusting their agendas to match the concerns of their constituencies, they’ve mastered strategies to adjust the concerns of their constituencies to match their own agendas. They are the most practiced group of liars currently in existence, and we could learn a lot by paying attention.

 

Lies are inherently negative. But that doesn’t mean that lies can’t also be very productive forces.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Pretty Face and a Nice Body, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

We tend to exercise differing levels of tolerance for different liars. Some people get called out immediately, while others are given a pass time and time again. It begs an investigation into which factors define the former group and which define the latter. 

 

I think it’s safe to say that being attractive and/or wealthy certainly help garner support and certain clemency. But perhaps there are other characteristics that help.

 

The more agreeable characteristics we have, the more likely it is that we’ll be excused from our false actions. But this likability requires maintenance in the same way a lie does. Let your guard down for too long and you’ll find yourself out of favor quickly.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Sense of Guilt, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

I suppose I like to believe that liars know they’re lying. I like to believe it’s a controlled activity. And if they know what they’re doing, I trust that they realize that lying isn’t something everyone does.  

 

Figures like Fred Rogers offer us all an alternative path, away from a life of lying. But being Mr. Rogers surely involves a great degree of discipline or sacrifice. And who has time for that? 

 

Constantly being decent takes focus and energy. Lies are easy. Lies take little effort. Lies happen when we’re sleepy.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Weak Compromise, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

Democrats promote themselves as consistently ethical. So, when they inevitably get caught lying, the fault is compounded by their hypocrisy. Had they just never gotten our hopes up in the first place, the fall wouldn’t be so hard.

 

When we lie to ourselves about who we really are, our lies to others are exponentially more threatening to our stability.What is the harm in acknowledging that lying is natural, that no one is wholly ethical? 

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A False Prophet, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Similar to the regular fall of the Democrats, Brian Williams positioned himself as a figure worthy of our trust nightly. He convinced us that we could believe what he had to say. And he was effective. Maybe it had something to do with the pity-inducing tilt of his eyebrows.

 

So, when it was revealed that he’d fabricated a heavily promoted story about his exposure to a warzone, he fell harder and further than someone without that trust would have.

 

Brian Williams became another figure in history whose primary role was to illustrate the undoing of the dishonest. He showed us that when you lie, you should do it in relative isolation without the potential for others to refute your claims.

ADAM MYSOCK

An Allowance to Try Again, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

Whenever I’ve watched The Wizard of Oz, I’ve always been struck by the same thing – that the actor who plays the Wizard, Frank Morgan, plays several other parts. There’s always been something impressive about that level of reinvention (even separated from the movie’s plotline about a middle-aged man pretending to be a magical wizard).

 

Essentially, lies (false identities) allow his figure to do so much more than any single persona could. Lies can offer the opportunity to reinvent your sense of self, to explore different aspects of your personality. And they can become overly seductive because of that.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Tentative Probe, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

The search for limits is an ongoing endeavor. Circumstances change. Environments shift. What was tolerable one day is offensive the next. As is the opposite. We’re always looking for the fine line that separates safe lying from detrimental misdirection.

 

Lies essentially stand as markers of a zeitgeist. As times change, so does the nature of our fiction. Lying evolves as a practice. It has a lineage and a life.

ADAM MYSOCK

A Bit Too Far, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

As we seek this fine line separating safe lying from detrimental misdirection, we often have to cross it in order to see it.

 

We’ll always take lying too far on occasion. Perhaps our best hope is to look for canaries in the coal mine of lying. Learning to lie involves a lot of observation of other liars. Recognizing the failures of others give us an idea of our own fictionalizing boundaries.

ADAM MYSOCK

An Audience Unaware, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Learning to lie is a bit like learning how to play a game. There are strategies. There’s an opponent. It can be fun because it’s a challenge. 

 

And of course, that competition is easiest when you’re playing against an inferior opponent. Lying is most effortless when the audience isn’t fully paying attention. The problem arises from the fact that engaging with a half-attentive audience tends to leave us dissatisfied.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Repetition, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

For a lie to gain real power, it must continue its existence separate from its creator. If it can be repeated by others, retold in a variety of contexts, it has undeniable influence. If it can separate itself from its birth, a lie has real control.

 

I suppose it’s the ultimate goal for career liars – to create a self-perpetuating fiction. But it scares me to think of something I’ve invented living on without my guidance. I suppose that’s why I lack any real desire to lie for a living.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Willing Ignorance, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

When considering the factors that are required (or at least helpful) for a lie to succeed, I constantly look to the audience. I constantly try to take inventory of the nature of its members. It’s easy to generalize the gullible as willfully ignorant, as unwilling to see things as they are. And there’s probably truth in that.

 

But generalizing like that prevents us from asking about the circumstances that led to their willingness to be ignorant.  How do you encourage someone to forego their curiosity in order to simply consume whatever’s said to them? For me, curiosity seems to be the enemy of the lie. Curiosity is the antidote.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Tutor, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

While the statement for this show indicates that there are no formal teachers of proper lying technique, it doesn’t deny that there are individuals out there who are providing master classes on lying for those inquisitive enough to study their templates.

 

Kellyanne Conway is one such informal educator. In weekly interviews, she offers lesson after lesson in diversion, denial, and outright fabrication.

 

Ultimately, a mentor who doesn’t realize they’re mentoring fails to effectively communicate methodology. We can only do our best to imitate their example. And imitation of informal tutorials inevitably leads to some eccentric deviations, some personal styles. In a waylying is a hyper-personal form of communication. No one lies exactly like anyone else because we all lack a formal education system for it.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Platform, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

I’ll blame everything wrong with America on Ted Turner. Don’t misread me – he didn’t do anything that grave. But he did invent the 24-hour news cycle with CNN. And that gave way to any number of other all-day news networks, scrabbling to find content to fill every minute of every day. The result is unimportant events, comments, or opinions being elevated to headline news.

 

Now we have some difficulty seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to politics, national and international policy, interpersonal relationships, everything. We’ve learned to react to every single occurrence in a way that exhausts our ability to effectively filter out lies from truth.

 

The 24-hour news cycle has been one of the greatest gifts to the lie because it offers unvetted liars a platform while simultaneously grinding down citizens’ ability to pay attention to the meaningful moments surrounded by so much noise.  

 

ADAM MYSOCK

An Automated Message, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

Our technology is staggering. We now have computers that can lie for us. For proof you only need to head over to any online comment board to read statement after statement from foreign and domestic “bots.”

 

If lying is a lazy response to complexity, having a computer lie for you admirably redefines laziness for a new era. 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Follower, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

With the elevation of political conspiracy theories to prime-time news, we’re encouraged to consider yet another type of lie – lying via surrogate. If we’re to believe in the idea of an ultrapowerful group of master manipulators, we then need to acknowledge their puppets – those individuals who, daily, verbalize the misdirection demanded by these all-powerful masters. It seems important to be able to recognize the mouthpiece of a lying system if you want to be a critical thinker these days.

 

(The scary truth is that we don’t really even need to believe in conspiracy theories to discern those who only serve as the mouthpieces for the true liars.)

ADAM MYSOCK

A Horrifying Self-Actualization, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.5 inches in diameter

Framed: 2.375 inches in diameter

 

At some point the lying has to stop, right? But when? I’m no longer convinced that any external stimulus can reverse a liar. People don’t lie because of a lack of penalties; getting in some sort of trouble is part of the action. 

 

I suspect that any revision of a liar’s behavior can only come from within.But I have no idea how a liar, whose natural state is one of defensiveness, can be made to acknowledge the consequences of their misdirections. That’s the scary part of living in our current political climate.

 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Fool, 2018

acrylic on panel

1.75h x 1.50w in
4.45h x 3.81w cm

Framed: 2.68h x 2.38w in
6.79h x 6.03w cm

 

I’ve heard that in centuries past, the jester – or fool – was often one of the only people able to speak truth to power. Because of their inherent absurdity, they were permitted to deliver unpleasant information to the influential.

 

We need that now. We need people able to speak truth to the powerful, to hold a mirror directly up to their faults.

 

Fortunately, every time a lie is told, those who fall for it are made to look foolish. It seems to be happening more and more with our increasing number of media platforms. Surely someday soon, looking foolish will transition into acting foolish, and acting foolish will yield an actual fool. Maybe then a fool will be able to speak truth to the lying powerful. 

ADAM MYSOCK

A Strange Lineage of One Big Happy Family, 2018

acrylic on paper

9.50h x 7.50w in
24.13h x 19.05w cm

Framed: 15h x 12w in
38.10h x 30.48w cm

 

Press Release

A D A M   M Y S O C K  

How Did We Get Here?                                                 

30 October – 15 December 2018

 

PRESS RELEASE
 

30 October 2018 (New Orleans, LA)JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY is pleased to announce How Did We Get Here?, the latest exhibition by Cincinnati-based painter Adam Mysock.  Thirty-five new paintings tell a chronological history of annual lies spanning the artist’s thirty-five years of life, each represented by images of popular culture or art historical iconography; from portraits of Santa Claus and Richard Nixon to appropriations of Rembrandt and Vermeer. This whimsical and comical body of work boasts his trademark, miniature paintings in the style of the Old Masters with approximately 400 brush strokes per square inch and 25 layers of varnish.  The exhibition will be on view from 30 October to 15 December 2018 with Arts District New Orleans’ (ADNO) First Saturday Gallery Openings with an opening reception Saturday 3 November and a second reception on 1 December from 5 - 9pm.

 

The artist elaborates on the inspiration for these paintings . . .

 

How do we learn to lie?

 

Who teaches us this skill?

 

And when do we learn it?

 

My answer is that I’m self-taught. I’ve been learning this craft my entire life. And I don’t believe I’m unique in this.

 

As children, our elders generally steer us away from lying; it’s just not something good kids do. It’s certainly not a skill typically taught in school. Lying is commonly considered an indecent behavior, so there really isn’t anyone out there directly training us to do it. But we all know how to lie. More often than not, it’s something we teach ourselves.

 

Over the years, I’ve made any number of mistakes that have provided me with a foundational awareness of what lying is and the actions required to do it. I’ve knowingly twisted the truth, gotten caught by some authority figure, righted my ways, and then fallen back into lying again just as soon as my underdeveloped judgment could lapse. I’ve studied historical figures whose misdeeds simultaneously taught me that lying was bad and how to get away with it if I desire. I’ve watched nightly news reports about criminals and politicians, and I’ve become fairly fluent in how lying functions in our world.

 

Each engagement with lying has offered me some small lesson about the different categories of lies (lies of omission, lies of commission, lies of influence, etc.). And I’ve learned about the spectrum of severity that sets one lie apart from another: from harmless, soothing fictions to dangerous conspiracy theories. But perhaps most importantly, I’ve discovered that there are circumstances when a lie seems more appropriate than an unflattering truth, that the merits of lying endure with a degree of nuance included.

 

How Did We Get Here? exists as a catalog of the many teachers, stories, gestures, and influences from my own lying education. From early players like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus to more recent influences like a 24-hour news cycle and online “bots,” I’ve recorded figures who’ve proven influential in my ability to falsify. I’ve recorded figures who’ve prepared me to think more critically in an era increasingly shaped by dishonest narratives. Each piece is painted with a certain degree of dramatic lighting or color, but none are painted critically. This is simply a record of those people and ideas who’ve made me a more-savvy connoisseur of lies.

For me, the decision to utilize the portrait miniature format (a format historically reserved for images of cherished loved ones) focused attention on the increasing level of importance that the skill of lying has gained in contemporary understandings of success. These liars and symbols replace paintings of my ancestors and become a new lineage for a modern world where situational morality has replaced the idea of an unconditional moral code. They become a fresh set of forefathers for me, as I find myself advancing further into an age where the best liars gain the most power.

 

One thing this body of work can’t do, however, is settle questions about the ethics of lying. It might begin a conversation about the harm lying can cause or its necessity in a peacefully functioning community, but it cannot designate lies, lying, or liars as entirely good or entirely bad. These figures persist in our culture and will continue to do so. The best we can do is to take inventory of the good and bad influences in our past and present and shape a preferable future by acknowledging the advantages of our least virtuous ancestors and overcoming the restrictions of our most just counter examples.

 

Adam Mysock was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1983 - the son of an elementary school English teacher and a lab technician who specializes in the manufacturing of pigments. On account of a steady stream of folk tales from his mother, his father's vividly dyed work clothes, and a solid Midwestern work ethic, he developed an interest in painting and drawing all things Americana from a very early age. Mysock earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Art History from Tulane University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

 

After his studies, he became the mural coordinator for the City of Cincinnati's MuralWorks mural program and worked as an adjunct drawing professor at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. In the summer of 2008, Mysock became a Professor of Practice at Tulane University and in 2015 he returned to his native Cincinatti to paint full time. Mysock's work has been exhibited in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana and is in private collections across the US, including those of 21c Hotel and Museum, Beth Rudin DeWoody, SØR Rusche Collection, Oelde/Berlin, Ruslan Yusupov, Thomas Coleman and Michael Wilkinson. He has been a jury winner in the annual No Dead Artists juried exhibition and awarded first prize “Best in Show” in the Ogden Museum’s Louisiana Contemporary Annual Juried Exhibition. Mysock’s work has been featured Pulse Miami, VOLTA NY and in Basel, Switzerland as well as art fairs in Houston, Seattle and San Francisco.

 

He was selected for the 2013 Edition of New American Paintings and his work was featured in a Baroque and Contemporary group exhibition from the SØR Rusche Collection, Oelde/Berlin at Kunsthalle Jesuitenkirche as well as in a solo exhibition entitled When Everything Was Wonderful Tomorrow at Galerie Andreas Binder in Munich, Germany. His work was also featured in EXCHANGE, an international exhibition at Galerie Jochen Hempel, Berlin and the following year reinstalled in Leipzig, Germany. Most recently he was selected as one of two recipients of the fifth Manifest Artist Residency (MAR) Award upon his return to his hometown. Mysock currently lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

 

 

For more information, press or sales inquiries please contact the gallery director Matthew Weldon Showman at 504.343.6827 or matthew@jonathanferraragallery.com. Please join the conversation with JFG on Facebook (@JonathanFerraraGallery), Twitter (@JFerraraGallery), and Instagram (@JonathanFerraraGallery) via the hashtags:  #AdamMysock, #JonathanFerraraGallery and #ArtsDistrictNewOrleans.