Prior to World War II, visual artists rarely worked in large-scale formats. But with the advent of the United States’ Abstract Expressionist movement in the late 1940s, large-format work became popular, along with monumental sculptures, sprawling installations and elaborate site-specific pieces. In response to this bigger-is-better attitude trend that is still with us, Kolman & Pryor Gallery announces the exhibition, Tiny Art, in which many of the gallery’s artists and several guest artists turn to smaller formats to investigate problems of scale and its relation to size. Tiny Art runs Saturday, September 10 through Saturday, October 22, 2016 with an artist reception on Saturday, September 24, 7-9 p.m.
“Our gallery artists are so willing to work outside of their comfort zone and enthusiastically agreed to participate in this show,” says Anita Sue Kolman, co-owner of Kolman & Pryor. “They see this exhibition as an opportunity to scale down their concepts and create something completely new.” All of the works in the show must be six inches or smaller.
For gallery artist Kate Casanova, whose installations often have performative or interactive elements, “the restrictions of making something so small can actually be a freeing way to work through larger ideas on a small scale,” she says.
“I am working on two to four sculptures that bridge organic and man-made forms by exploring such materials as rock, foam, fabric, wood, dried mushrooms and found objects,” Casanova continues. “When working at a small scale, the challenge is creating a form that, from a distance, has the power to pull in a viewer and then hold their attention with small details when they draw close.”
Another fascinating aspect of small artworks, Kolman adds, is the physical process of seeing them. “You have to get up to it close to look at the work, which results in an intimate experience for the viewer,” she explains. “As you hone in on the work, you may become unaware of other things happening around you.”
Gallery artist Jil Evans, whose large-scale abstractions are highly intelligent compositions of sensation, line and form, is creating small works based on photographic images she took of what lies beneath a swamp in Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park.
“The challenge I have set myself is to make the largest worlds I can in the small space I am working in,” Evans says. “I think there is something naturally satisfying to us, exciting for us, to look into a small space and find a world larger than the room we are standing in. It’s always about making more space!”
Tiny Art is curated by gallery co-owner and curator Patrick K. Pryor. Gallery artists in the show are Betsy Ruth Byers, Kate Casanova, Jil Evans, Ernest Miller, Kelly Jean Ohl, Jodi Reeb, Danny Saathoff and Cameron Zebrun. Guest artists, Rachel Andrzejewski, Erik Benson, Nathanael Flink, and Jon Neuse, are also participating in the exhibition.