I just had a show at the Riverside Arts Center. I showed 11 of my gift paintings along with the actual wrapped gifts, satin, velvet, and fabrics I used in the paintings. At the show, I had a sign-up list where attendees added their names and email. After the close of the exhibition, I randomly chose people from the list to receive paintings as gifts. The sign-up sheet looked like this:
If you are selected to receive a painting you must agree to the following conditions:
1)This painting cannot be bought, sold, or bartered in the future. It can be re-gifted.
2) We (you and the artist) will be linked in a fiduciary relationship. You (the recipient) will be bound in an ethical relationship of trust and friendship with me (the artist), taking care of this painting indefinitely. Examples of our friendship may include: invitations to sibling weddings, texts, dinner parties, Christmas card exchanges, etc to be carried out in perpetuity.
Below is the statement I wrote about the work.
It is a rare and exciting opportunity to see a painting next to its subject, to witness the choices, edits, and improvisations that were made by the artist. The time that went into each painting is visible and the steps of its creation can be pieced together by the viewer.
Each present painting is a gift, so why not treat them as such by giving them away? Lewis Hyde wrote in The Gift, “When a part of the self is given away, community appears.” My hope is that this act will allow us, the artist and the viewer, to bypass the transactional, commercial nature of art and instead connect in a more personal way.
A present is brought to a party as a gesture of goodwill. It represents the inexpressible and invisible value of relationships between people-- “the parts of the self” we offer to those we love. At the core of all my work is the fear that plagues many Millennials: the fear of missing out (on potential friends, on experiences). A party is an antidote to that fear. It is a celebration between friends of what we do have, of our time together.