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Javier Tapia

The Gift, 2019-20
Watercolor on Strathmore paper
18 x 72 inches

“The Gift” is a piece I worked on while thinking about a piece by the late artist Richard Carlyon. A year ago Eleanor Rufty, his wife, surprised me with a gift, a piece done by Richard. In my version, although not literally connected to “togetherness,” I thought about gift as “extension”, the importance of gift as “free communication,” our connectedness through the act of giving. I thought about continuing a “visual conversation” about someone who constantly gave so much to many artists. In the end of experiencing the piece, I tried to reiterate what we sometimes easily forget: the importance to take a stand for creating and celebrating art primarily born out of gift.

Born in 1957 in Lima, Peru, Javier Tapia grew up in a tumultuous period as guerrilla warfare dominated political and social movements throughout the country. He moved to the United States in the 1980s, having witnessed the many binaries of humanity: good and evil, intellectual and primal, connection and detachment. His work explores how these opposites manifest in life; abstract shapes and broad strokes become metaphors for chaos and control, or structure and disorder. Much like traditional Peruvian weaving, Tapia overlaps, subtracts, and reworks layers of watercolor, creating dynamic compositions which emanate physicality.

Tapia earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin (1984, 1987). He has exhibited at the Embassy of Peru Art Gallery, Washington, DC; Museo de Osma, Barranco, Peru; Bloom Gallery, Milan, Italy; Hunt Gallery at Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA; 1708 Gallery, and the Anderson Gallery, both, Richmond, VA. He currently lives in Richmond, VA and works in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Painting and Printmaking, where he has taught since 1988.