In this age of fake news, one might feel as if the very notion of truth has been challenged and seriously eroded, but this is not new. Well before our times, propaganda has made use of art as a means to convey ideas that, although not always accurate, are always convincing. On the other hand, art can be a tool for exploration of the world and ideas or for self-exploration and the uncovering of one’s authentic self. But then, whether we think about the rules of perspective, meant to convey the illusion of depth, or about trompe-l’oeil paintings that literally “trick your eye,” images are, to borrow the title of Magritte’s famous painting, treacherous. One may indeed wonder if a convincing depiction of the observable reality is truthful or deceiving.

MAJ Spring PereBorrell

Pere Borrell del Caso, Escaping Criticism (Huyendo de la crítica), 1874, oil on canvas, 75,7 x 61 cm., Collection Banco de España, Madrid (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

How do you engage with reality—both exterior and interior?

What part does illusion play in your art?

How do you express truth and/or lies in your work?

What truths and lies about your life has your art revealed to you? Has it helped you take action?

How does your work confront the lies we are asked to live with?


Deadline: 1 March 2023.

We invite MAJ member artists (to become a member: click here) to submit up to four JPEG or png images (NO TIFF files), approximately 2800 pixels on width, resolution 72dpi.

MAJ Spring L Freud copy

Lucian Freud, Portrait of a Man (Baron H. H. Thyssen-Bornemisza), oil on canvas, 51 x 40 cm, 1981–82. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (photo: Véronique Plesch).

Guidelines for UMVA Members’ Showcase:

    • Include an image list and statement or brief essay (600 words or less) in Word doc. format, NOT a PDF.
    • Label each image file as follows: your last name_Number of Image_Title (with no spaces in the title). Please DO NOT put whole caption/credit in image file label, see image list/caption format below (if you are submitting for a group put your own last name in first).
    • Label your document file names: Last Name_Title
    • Image list/caption format: create a list that is numbered to match the number in your image file label that includes the following: Artist’s Name, Title of Work, medium, size (example: 9 x 12 in.), date (optional), photo credit (example: photo: Ansel Adams) if not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist. Example: Unknown Artist, Untitled, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in., 2000 (photo: Ansel Adams).
    • Please wait until all of your material is compiled to submit.

Put “Truths and Liesin the subject line and submit by email to by the 1 March 2023 deadline. MAJ will limit the “Members’ Showcase” section to UMVA members who have not been published in the past year.

Do not send preformatted visual essays. Our editors will lay out text and images submitted using the guidelines above.

It is the MAJ’s policy to request and then publish image credits. We will not publish images the submitter does not have the right to publish. However, it is to be assumed that any uncredited or unlabeled images are the author’s/submitter’s own images. By submitting to the MAJ, you are acknowledging respect for these policies.

MAJ Spring other

Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts, Trompe-l’œil: Letter Rack with an Hourglass, Razor and Scissors, c. 1664, oil on canvas, 40.1 x 32.8 in. (101.9 x 83.4 cm.), Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent (photo: Wikimedia Commons).


Image at top: René Magritte, The Treachery of Images (La Trahison des images), 1929, oil on canvas, 23.75 x 31.94 in. (60.33 x 81.12 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (photo: Keith Daly via Flickr).