Each spring, the Berkeley Art Museum collaborates with the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley, dedicating one of the museum's galleries to a selection of new work by Master of Fine Arts graduates. The Flaming Sword of Truth: The 36th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition follows upon a rigorous two-year MFA program; it exposes the community to some of the most promising new artists in the Bay Area, while giving graduates the opportunity to participate in a museum show. The seven artists featured in the 2006 exhibition are Sarah Cain, Jaime Cortez, Leo Estevez, Jonn Herschend, Kenneth Lo, Peter Nelson, and Will Rogan. Jonn Herschend tests the limits of memory using the spoken word, while Leo Estevez challenges our perceptions of the written word. Herschend's PowerPoint presentations and paintings expose the mutability of truth by recounting a chain of events as the artist remembers them in random iterations. The all-too-familiar maxim “based on a true story” is blown comically out of proportion by the end of his PowerPoint presentations, at which point the “facts” have strayed far from their original sources. Estevez invites the viewer to engage text physically. At first sight, his three-dimensional sculpted letters resemble random shapes or objects scattered across the wall; as we move closer, we unexpectedly confront the moment when we perceive object as text. Sarah Cain's artistic practice covers a wide range of approaches, from site-specific and site-transferable installations to large-scale works on paper. Her architectural interventions consist of paintings that extend out from existing structures like appendages, accentuating a doorjamb or a window molding. Unlike Estevez's, Cain's play with perception is understated and muted; it creeps up slowly, and envelops you completely. Will Rogan's work often begins with an innocent scrutiny of daily life, aspects of which undergo a thorough dissection along the way. Stripped of time and suspended in space, the domestic and urban settings in his photographs transcend their familiarity and become immortalized not as pictorial memories of a specific instance, but as distillations of affect that linger long after the initial experience. Peter Nelson's mixed-media sculptures serve as metaphors for the organic world. Nelson's elaborately constructed “systems,” which resemble science experiments, force viewers to become aware of their verticality and mobility as they maneuver through the surrounding environment. At times disorienting and intrusive, these manufactured landscapes jeopardize the buffer zone we call our personal space. Both Jaime Cortez and Kenneth Lo search for truth in the realms of cultural identity and pop culture. Their futile attempts to turn fantasy into reality through imitation and impersonation take on heroic proportions. Cortez's photo-realistic drawings illustrate one medium's yearning for another; the comic book–style heroes he portrays mirror our cultural fascinations with disguise and righteousness. Lo's mock documentary portraying himself as a great street ball player unfolds in a montage of testimonials by various characters, all played by Lo himself, in an attempt to pass off an illusion as actual. All seven artists offer their interpretations of truth as it is shaped and reshaped over time. They choose to embrace its many guises and subtle mutations with a mixture of humor, sarcasm, doubt, and poignancy.