re: gift

2015, FOR The Hamiltonian Gallery, DC

re: gift , at the Hamiltonian Gallery in DC, examined the multifacetedness of objects; their assigned usages; and how an object’s meaning can shift depending on context, ownership, and history. The Hamiltonian’s 2015 Fellows spent a weekend at Elsewhere partaking in activities that allowed them to consider how objects mediate our experiences; function in our daily lives as objects of history, memory, and utility; and contribute to identity. Following the visit, I provided them with a simple prompt: 

Step 1: Give a gift. Make it meaningful. Wrap it nicely.

Step 2: Receive a gift.

Step 3: Create a new artwork based on the gift.

The result is an exhibition that challenges each artist with the exchange of objects whose meanings emanate from their personal use and existing significance. When gifted to a fellow artist, these earlier meanings take on new associations as personal connections re-define how the thing is subsequently perceived and deployed. Here, a mouse trap, a memoir, a cassette tape, a sonic amplifier, a stamp collection, a souvenir, and a bottle of whiskey all undergo a semantic shift, spurring original paintings, sculptures, and installations that record these re-assigned possibilities.

Does meaning accumulate, muddle, or disappear altogether as objects are exchanged from one artist to another? Each work in Fellows Converge | re: gift proposes its own approach to thinking through the complexities of memory as applied to objecthood, producing a rich exhibition of remembrance and renewal as experienced through the lens of the items that surround us.

Realized with the participation of: 

 Naoko Wowsugi
Allison Spence
Nancy Daly
Dane Winkler
Dan Perkins
Lisa Dillin
Will Schneider-White