The Lenfest Center for the Arts
Vincent Valdez "The Strangest Fruit"
Vincent Valdez's work consists of large-scale hyper-realistic oil and pastel works focusing on subjects with sociopolitical themes. In The Strangest Fruit series, Valdez explores the widespread lynching of people of Mexican descent in Texas between 1848 and 1928. While lynching of African-Americans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has received scholarly and popular attention, very little has been devoted to the lynching of hundreds of Latinos during the same period. Valdez connects the historical mistreatment of Latinos to the present by depicting men dressed in contemporary garb, positioned as if hanging from a tree or a stage, though no actual noose or lynching stage is visible in the paintings. His imagery explores the past treatment of Latinos to comment upon their present marginalization in the United States. Valdez received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. In 2004 at age 26, Valdez was the youngest artist to have a solo exhibition at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. He has been awarded residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and the Vermont Studio Center. Valdez lives and works in Fire Station #15, his restored 1928 fire station in San Antonio.