Maria Medina-Schechter - American History
Medium: Oils and Collage
The Greatest American Crime Story: American History began as a response to the death of Mr. Floyd and evolved into a thorough response to racism in America. The painting is significant because it highlights many of the challenges in our culture today, and for the last 400 years. In addition, the painting documents historical truths from the roots of slavery in 1619 to the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. This piece tells the story of oppression, racism, and unnecessary brutality towards American Indians, Asian Americans, Black Americans and Mexican Americans, as well as women’s right to vote and climate change. As a Mexican-American, I felt it was right to celebrate the lives lost and to honor those who have held the light of hope for 400 years. It is a courageous act to stand up for what we believe is true and right.
The painting consists of 21 Feathers of Fire, each telling the true story about our history. Take a historical tour through the telling of the 21 feathers. In Native American culture, it is believed that all things possess an inherent virtue, power, and wisdom. The feather is a powerful symbol that signifies honor and a connection between the owner, the Creator, and the bird from which the feather came. It symbolizes trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, and freedom. It is an object that is deeply revered and a sign of high honor. This is how I feel about all those who have stood in the face of adversity and who have perished at the hands of Xenophobia.
Description of the style and technique:
I am inspired by inner-city murals, graffiti, and wheat paste collaged imagery in cities throughout the world. My collage technique is the same method used by graffiti artists and activists. Born in Pasadena and raised in various pockets of the city, my work is heavily influenced by these practices and use of language in urban environments. My painting technique is a mix of Alla Prima painting, which was practiced by many of the impressionist masters as it allowed them to capture the elusive light as quickly as possible. In addition, I use blocking and blending as a way to show the base of the painting and equanimity of color. My main blending technique utilizes either dry pastille brushes or cosmetic brushes. The quality of the hair, the binding, and the thickness of the wrapped bushel create the blending of each stroke in an equanimous and delicate balance of color and content.