Beginning in the early 1960s, John A. O’Connor, “the punning, painting, pedagogue” began a series of paintings, drawings, and works on paper that included satire, social criticism, and anti-mainstream commentary on a variety of issues. Taking his lead from artists like Hieronomus Bosch (The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Last Judgment, and The Haywein Triptych) William Hogarth (A Harlot’s Progress, A Rake’s Progress) and Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Los Disparates [The follies, The Proverbs, and/or The Dreams]; Los Disastres de la Guerra; and, especially The Black Paintings), O’Connor initiated a second side to his better-known work (Bay Area Figurative). Including word-plays made with stencils, irreverent dialog, and a take on the more serious works by Jasper Johns, O’Connor started to develop a group of themes and images that would recur throughout his career and subsequently lead to the current series, White Lies Matter.
This series of “fake slates” explores many popular misconceptions that we all share about what is really going on in our lives. A symbol of the only Irish pub on communist soil at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba “where it don’t gitmo better than this,” and Bill Clinton’s “little blue dress” episode looks downright insignificant when compared to JFK’s exploits, and the real story behind Obama’s “red line in Syria,” White Lies Matter exposes the cover ups, lies, and cynicism of 21st America.