Terese Garcia, Monterey County painting
Medium: oil on canvas
Surface: Canvas, unframed with painted edges
Width: 24 inches
Height: 30 inches
Depth: 1 inch
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY
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©2020 Paul Richmond
Terese Garcia, Monterey County
“I’ve been voting in this country, specifically in the state of California and even more specifically for the past 26 years, in Monterey County, since the age of 18. So much has changed socially, culturally and politically since then, when I first stepped into the voting booth with a small pencil in hand and voting sheet to make my decided voting choices. Every single time I’d leave, I felt empowered. I’m aware of unjust, negative and criminal acts this country has committed. I’m also aware of three focal points that exist, by actually choosing a measure, candidate, etc. Simply put they are: ENGAGEMENT, INCLUSIVENESS and RESPONSIBILITY. This is why the ideal of democracy is so important via voting. Without these things, no positive ideal can be put into practice peacefully and without bloodshed. This is why voting is so important to me.”
“Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” -SUSAN B. ANTHONY
Voting rights in the United States have a complicated history, with numerous regulations implemented to prohibit people from participating based on gender, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, age, and more. Yet the right to vote is frequently taken for granted in our modern society, with only 54% of eligible voters taking part in the 2016 election.
In this series of oil paintings, I am choosing to portray individuals from historically disenfranchised groups who would have been denied the right to vote at some point in our nation’s history. Some of the models are still unable to vote today. Each figure is painted on top of collaged ballots and voting pamphlets from a significant election in their group’s history. For example, the background for a female model might be comprised of 1920 ballots - the first election in which women could vote. Each piece is titled with the individual’s name and voting district, and is accompanied by a quote about the significance of voting to them.
This series represents a stylistic departure from my recent work. I’ve been painting in a thick, impasto style with bold colors and expressive marks. In this series, to preserve elements of the collaged backgrounds, I am exploring a lighter touch - one that allows the figurative and textual elements to merge on the canvas. The marks and colors retain an expressive quality, but the outcome is more subtle.
My aim is to create a sense of connection with the subject, evoking empathy and awareness of our common humanity. By portraying marginalized individuals and highlighting their unique perspectives as well as their group’s struggle for voting rights, I hope to inspire viewers to consider the importance of their own participation in our country’s election process.