Born 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. Tapia takes these themes into the studio as abstract shapes and broad strokes become metaphors for chaos and control, or structure and disorder. Much like traditional Peruvian weaving, he overlaps, subtracts, and reworks layers of watercolor, transforming the paper as bold colors emerge like carved-out shapes. Dynamic compositions emanate physicality; the work becomes energetic, on the brink of chaos, yet ordered within the constraints of the paper.
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, Reynolds Gallery and the Anderson Gallery, all, Richmond, VA. He is a recipient of the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts (2010). He currently lives in Richmond, VA, where he was a
professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Painting and Printmaking from 1988 to 2018.