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"Art is like a serum, transforming it's audience for good or ill.

As I paint, the play of light has taken my breath away.

..Migrant workers came into view. They have transformed my vision. Familiar shapes in fields and orchards, migrant workers toil in the Hudson Valley doing jobs most Americans won't, earning modest wages, sometimes risking deportation. Hard at work, they summon our attention and invite us to come closer, to see their labor and their humanity.

Who are they? Can you see them?

It’s possible for society to confer invisibility on a group. It’s convenient; if the group is invisible we relieve ourselves of concern about health care, working conditions, pesticides, housing, lack of ability to get their own food.

 

What is life like for them? What role do we play in keeping them unseen? My work can expand our perceptions of these workers. If only by their images in my paintings, the viewer will come to see these persons for the vital role they have in our lives. 

 

- Barbara Masterson

In late May of 2015 while painting on a local farm, I began adding the migrant workers to my work. I now have painted them in both large and small formats.

These workers are some of the “faceless” people that impact our lives. They often remain unseen and unknown despite their presence in our Valley for many months each year. Getting to know and then paint them changed my perspective on my work and forged my commitment to knowing them as people and not merely as faceless workers in the field.