Between elected-official obfuscations, social-media conspiracies and widespread evidence of mistruths, Oregon sculptor MacRae Wylde found himself at wit’s end.
“I was very frustrated with the fact that it sort of seems like we as a nation have forgotten the importance of truth,” he said.
That frustration was the impetus for a series of large sculptures that Wylde calls “monuments to truth.”
One such sculpture made a stop in Wyoming on Wednesday as part of a cross-country journey to its eventual installation in Indiana. Wylde parked the 600-plus-pound, 5-by-11-feet piece, which he is hauling in a trailer, next to a park in Lander, talking to passersby about the work.
He drew the design with a marker and straight edge and cut the pieces out of steel sheets with a torch, he said, before welding them together, and grinding and etching the metal by hand. The result is a giant 3-dimensional rectangle with the word “Truth” cut out.
Across the park from Wylde, a group was in the midst of a 40-day prayer vigil to end abortion. Wylde said he welcomed sharing the park with the group, even if perhaps they didn’t agree.
That’s because one of the things he’s so frustrated with, he said, “is we’ve forgotten that discourse is a way to solve a problem.”
He hopes his “Truth” pieces remind people of the value of factual and honest discourse, he said.
“We just need to remember that it’s important,” he said. “Even if it means that you are speaking to someone who doesn’t agree with your position. If you can honestly have discourse, then you can agree to disagree. It doesn’t mean you have to be angry or vile.”
Reactions from people in Oregon, Utah and Idaho — previous stops on the sculpture’s journey — have reflected that, he said.
“Everybody I talk to says, ‘yea, I believe in the truth. I want the truth.’ And it doesn’t really matter what party you belong to,” he said.