Trust and Trusting
acrylic on denim/jean fragment
12 x 42 in.
Almost everyone wears jeans without thinking of the humble origins regarding
its labor history. Originally used for work clothes, denim has long since taken on an ‘iconically’ fashionable identity.
By using the history of denim in America as a vehicle, my paintings on denim / jean fragments have become totems representing the clan of workers who have and continue to withstand extreme physical labor, unfair wages and exploitation in order to build better futures if not for themselves, for their families. From those who picked cotton; a multitude of farmers, factory workers and migrant labor forces who still wear denim for its durability; and foreign workers who assemble these “all-American” garments—each group is an example that symbolizes human strength, perseverance and personal fortitude.
By inviting viewers to consider the human efforts as well as the generational consequences connected to the lower economic status of physical labor, my paintings with their individual ‘price tags’ intend to inspire a genuine
respect for all workers with whom we come into daily contact.
© Teri Richardson