New paintings by Gary Chapman, “108 Black Paintings and the COTA Project,” on exhibition in Gadsden from April 29-June 24

Chapman’s new works were inspired by the 108 days the family spent waiting for his daughter’s heart transplant. Also featured are works made by his daughter and her fellow pediatric heart patients as they awaited organ transplants.
gary chapman heartA work created by Sadie and Gary Chapman representing Sadie's heart.

New works created by artist Gary Chapman have quite a story of inspiration.

Chapman is professor of painting in the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences Department of Art and Art History. “108 Black Paintings and the COTA Project” is the artist’s first solo exhibition following his daughter Sadie’s 2015 heart transplant. The works were inspired by the 108 days the family spent waiting for Sadie’s new heart. COTA is the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.

Chapman’s daughter was born in 1996 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had two open-heart surgeries before turning 18. In early 2015, her heart began to fail, and after weeks of testing she entered Children’s Hospital to begin her wait for the ideal donor heart. The family is forever grateful to a 29-year-old man who sadly lost his life, but through his selfless, compassionate vision to donate his organs saved another. 

“108 Black Paintings and The COTA Project” features 54 matte paintings and 54 satin paintings, each mounted on a 9” x 7” panes of glass. Also featured are works made by Sadie and her fellow pediatric heart patients as they awaited organ transplants.

A free opening reception with the artist is planned from 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the Walnut Gallery, 806 Walnut Street in Historic Downtown Gadsden. Visit the gallery online at

Chapman’s work has received recognition and awards from notable figures Ned Rifkin, Dennis Barrie, John Ravenal, Annette Carlozzi and Jack Cowart. In 2008 his work was selected and published in the book “Alabama Masters: Artists and their Work.” He has received grants and fellowships including a 1996 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Painting from the Southern Arts Federation, and in 1994 and 2001, Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The Joan Mitchell Foundation named Chapman a CALL Legacy Artist in 2013. His work has been reviewed extensively and is published in more than 20 catalogs and books including the third, 16th and 52nd editions of New American Paintings.

Daughter Sadie has healed and finally returned to school at Lee Strasburg Theatre & Film Institute in New York, so this exhibition is both the product of a cathartic process and the culmination of a celebration, Chapman says.

“Ideally this show would travel, as I believe it could be the perfect instrument for the conversation of the importance of organ donation, transplantation and awareness,” Chapman said. “Support is so important for organizations such as the Alabama Organ Center, Children’s Organ Transplant Association and United Network for Organ Sharing. We want to share with the world the life-saving importance of organ donation.”