Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez solo show, “Portraits of Puerto Rican Resilience” is especially important to see now at @sanchezcontemporary #downtownoakland through Aug 15th.
1951 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, California 94612
An exhibition of portraits of Puerto Ricans by Richmond artist Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez opened on July 5, 5-8 PM, at Sanchez Contemporary, an Oakland Gallery.
The paintings will be on display until August 15, 2019.
The show presents 14 paintings created during a post-Maria trip to the island. As with most of Garcia-Gonzalez’s portrait work, sitters sat for the painting process and were able to choose their clothes and poses. “Originally I wanted it to be a showcase of Puerto Rican diversity,” she explained. But as the sitters talked, the artist learned about the impact of a disaster worse than Maria, the economic crisis engineered by the PROMESA oversight board.
None of them, she realized, were expecting help from outside the island. And all of them were doing something to help others, sometimes at great sacrifice. Her portraits would end up showing the resilience of ordinary Puerto Ricans, young and old, men and women “who defy colonial identities through their presentation of self.”
Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez is a painter, muralist and educator based in Richmond CA. Of her portraits, historian Richard Cándida Smith observed “she uses simple graphical realism to capture the strong personalities of the people who sit for her… they are human beings, complex and probably contradictory” Garcia-Gonzalez is most known for her oil portraits of immigrants and queer people living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She completed a BFA at the University of Puerto Rico before moving to the Bay Area, where she worked as an educator, illustrator and graphic designer.