FROM THE JOURNAL NEWS BLOG, NOVEMBER 9, 2007
For two years now, Westchester artist Berenice Pliskin has turned her eye toward scenes of immigrant day laborers and reinvented them as vibrant paintings on silk. Knowing full well the kind of reception these workers often get, she¹s hoping to inspire discussion about the polarizing issue of immigration. Her latest work is a portrait of one immigrant whose image might look familiar.
The artist explains:
³This painting is a likeness of a Guatemalan immigrant named Rene Perez. The story of his recent death caught my attention. When I first decided to paint his portrait, it was to remind people of the shocking event this past summer when he was found dead on the side of a road Š² Pliskin worked from a photo of Perez circulated by police and the media after he was found along Byram Lake Road in Bedford the night of April 28. Perez, an undocumented immigrant who was homeless and alcoholic and had hundreds of run-ins with law enforcement, had called police that night asking to go to the hospital. His death was ruled by the Westchester Medical Examiner as a homicide resulting from severe internal bleeding. In September, a Mount Kisco police officer was charged with second-degree manslaughter. The officer has pleaded not guilty, and the uproar that surrounded the case has faded for now. Pliskin said she found a way for the painting to represent not only Perez but the reaction to his death. ³My painting medium is fabric dyes on silk,² Pliskin says. ³As a rule I steam the finished work to set the dyes so that the colors become permanent. For this particular painting I decided not to set the colors. Instead I want the dyes to slowly become fainter and fainter, just the way many shocking acts will fade from memory over a period of time.² Most of Pliskin¹s paintings show day laborers in familiar scenes, huddled on the sidewalks. One painting places immigrant landscapers into the foreground of ³The Gleaners.² Š Her collection, ³Latino Day Laborers,² was exhibited most recently in October at the Katonah Museum of Art, coinciding with a lecture by Kenneth Jackson organized by Neighbors Link.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 9th, 2007 at 11:51 am by Leah Rae.