For me, mail art can be paintings or collages that have been addressed and stamped, then sent through the mail. Like most art students and artists, I have always decorated envelopes and post cards. Due to the nature of the exercise and the possibility that the work could be lost and/or damaged, I allow myself a wider focus than in my usual studio pursuits, making these pieces a kind of serious folly.

This group, which currently numbers over 85, began in 1995 when I was preparing for a show at the Demuth Foundation in Lancaster, PA. The oil paintings I was working on seemed to be taking too long to dry, so I thought I would devise a plan to make faster pieces. Realizing the mail was picked up at 5pm, it seemed reasonable to work toward that deadline, address and stamp the piece and drop it in the box. These were small poster like pieces (with a nod to Charles Demuth and his poster portraits) that were mailed to the Demuth, then returned to me, framed and included in the 1995 show. The first piece came back fine and I began to utilize the cancellation marks as inspiration for elements in the pieces, which soon took longer than a day or two. See the painted circles mirroring the cancellation marks in the early Demuth pieces.

Over the years, I have touched upon many of the different phases of my “real” studio work in the mailed pieces, which have been posted in Hawaii, Spain, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, England and France so far, in addition to Pennsylvania. I have not received only several from this group. One was lost in Lancaster, while others were mailed over seas and never arrived.

The French pieces were done while we visited Paris in March, 2007 and upon our
return on envelopes that were purchased in Chartres. The first three were mailed
at the Louvre.

Interested parties are encouraged to research Ray Johnson for a different and wonderful take on art sent through the mail.

 
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