Tonight in Philly: Little Treasures – Big Rewards
The role of small works of art has, in modern culture, been delegated to the “minor works” category. They become overlooked, poorly appreciated and frequently labeled as good choices for a holiday show to generate a few sales. They have also been the subject of shows where size is all that matters, i.e. all works will be postcard size, measure 12”x12”, etc. Historically, the role of small works has been very different. The Mona Lisa is perfectly sized for a good holiday show, as is Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” Many of Rembrandt’s great portraits would also qualify, and the finest works ever done by Rubens would neatly fit into a child’s knapsack. The creation of small works for many artists has been a device where the improbable becomes possible, an idea is tried or a risk is easily taken.“Little Treasures – Big Rewards”will be on display at Projects Gallery in Philadelphia from March 4 - 26, 2011. There will also be an artist’s reception First Friday March 4th from 5 - 9 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
“Little Treasures – Big Rewards”assembles a group of artists all deliberately working in the small format. For Elizabeth Bisbing, the diminutive scale is her forte, where her collages take on the grandeur of Renaissance masters. For others, such as Vivian Wolovitz, whose large works easily command the viewer in any gallery space, in recent time she has found a rich and varied voice in the pocket size, creating a deep space for the gravity of her painted atmosphere. Alex Queral continues to push the envelope incorporating recycled phone books. Ross Bonfanti utilizes concrete to warm the heart and surprise the senses. Susan B. Howard combines the political with the fanciful, sending a powerful message in a seemingly sweet package. Craig Cully reminds us of the Dutch master Franz Hals with his dazzling Hershey candies, while Caleb Weintraub demonstrates that the sweet world of contemporary children is a troubled place due to the modern obsession with war game technology. Frank Hyder demonstrates the experimental arena of the small works with examples from his perdido and rhythm series. F. Lennox Campello brings us his relentless salsa seasoned social commentaries, invigorating pencil and paper into a sword and shield bent on righting injustice wherever it is found.
In “Little Treasures – Big Rewards,”Projects introduces Canadian realist, Matthew Schofield, working in a diminutive scale using images from his childhood experiences. Zoe Spiliotis makes a debut with a formal spin on geometric linear explosive abstractions. Debra Van Tuinen from Portland, Oregon, serves up sensuous sky-like images made in encaustic that appear to be mixed with air. Projects also introduces Marcelo Suaznabar, a Bolivian artist currently living in Toronto, whose surrealistic vision presents a world where nothing is as it should be but often is more appealing than how things are. Amy Orr arrives for the first time at Projects with her imaginative up-cycled transformations, while E. Sherman Hayman returns with selections from her coffin series, loaded with meaning and too good to bury. This group exhibition puts the emphasis on the rewards, not the ruler, and packs a real punch.