“I don’t paint Democrats,” says Richard Phillips. “I vote for them.” Just in time for tonight’s presidential debates, the artist installed this monster of a Vote Romney painting at the Rauschenberg Foundation group show, blocks away from the Gagosian and his heaving, immaculately photorealistic Lindsay Lohans and Sasha Greys.

What the hell, you ask? Why would this self-identified Democrat paint Mr. Mitt “My job is not to worry about those people” Romney? The Gallerist has an insightful quote from the pop artist:

One of the biggest issues is that he has a very prominent brow. The eyes are set back, and in this kind of political-moment image. The eyes can’t be locked on the horizon and they can’t be focused on a person. They’re very accurately painted, and they have a slightly unusual, out of focus thing that allows people’s minds to go anywhere with it.

They’ve even noted a slightly reddish tint to the eyes. The image is based on an Associate Press photograph Phillips purchased the rights to – unlike ahem, ahem – and, in being free from irony, satire or ye olde propaganda poster homages is pure Romney.

The painting is scaled to amplify the constituent parts of political image craft and how it is designed to influence our opinions about attraction, competency, and trust during the campaign cycle.

So get close. Get to know the GOP cover boy, look him in the eyes… Oh wait.

(Photo: Gallerist NY)