Found 02/2013, Goodwill (Metric and 183)

Broadly, this is in the tradition of the affirmation collage, an idea cloud to help define a problem through free association, or to give a boost to the artist’s spirits. Many of these are deeply personal to the artist and their experience, but Gifts, in metallic ink on prepared canvas, seems to be directed toward an audience, rather than being a private work. Its inclusion in the Alternative Spirituality is predicated on the word “Fear,” which seems out of place in a collage of largely positive concept words. “Fear,” in a religious sense shorthand for awe and respect, the diminishing of self in the presence of something vast and unknowable. Like bliss, though not so much like hugs, it is a gift of faith.

Some critics have suggested that “fear,” in this case marginalized and on the side of the piece, an afterthought or a whisper, is in Gifts tied to the concept of family, an ambiguous note—is this the protective fear of a parent for her children’s well-being, or some darker fear of repercussion and violence? The word-cloud nature of Gifts, almost by definition, takes concept out of context.

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