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October 24, 2007 > Small Works

Small Works

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco

They say great things come in small packages. If that is so, then visitors are in for a wonderful treat as they view the current Small Works Exhibit at Olive Hyde Art Gallery featuring 85 works of art in varying media by fifteen artists. The main requirement for submitted works was that they were no larger than 12" x 12" x 12."

Olive Hyde Art Gallery Curator Sandra Hemsworth was ultimately responsible for choosing which works to accept. She uses consistent parameters to select art that ensures that the community is being served and brings a format for seeing new information and fresh ideas that inspire and have the ability to engage the viewer in conversation about the work. Hemsworth adds, "Small Works is not a unique concept. In fact it's a rather redundant exhibition concept. Nevertheless, in a community gallery setting like Olive Hyde, it provides a wide perspective of visual concepts within a smaller scale that is often more affordable for the majority of the gallery's visitors. It's also a concept that lends itself to more local artists being shown."
The artist featured in this exhibit are a talented group and each one has their unique stamp.
Oregon artist Kimberly Kent learned to paint in Hawaii and uses intense colors of encaustic dry pigment beeswax and resin, to paint landscapes based on her travels. Her goal is to bring the feeling of nature indoors so that viewers may experience the place in the painting with all their senses.

Marjorie DeQuincy is a textile and multi-media artist who incorporates recycled materials into her work. She typically uses found objects, such as newspaper, tissue, string, thread, plastic and feathers as the subjects for crayon and oil paintstik rubbings on a textile substrate. She over-paints the rubbings, and collages newspaper, tissue paper and fiber over the fabric. Layers of paint, recycled string, thread, fabric and ephemera (items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, e.g., pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc.) add depth to her work.

Lacey Bryant once showed some of her student work at Olive Hyde and returns to the gallery to exhibit in a show that she believes "helps to open art up to a wider community." Although she typically works in a larger format, she has recently been creating smaller works in oil pastel. Her current artwork reflects her ideas of contradiction and duality and is focused on a female perspective (created to include a female audience). She thinks that the lower price tag on small artwork is a great way of making original art accessible to more people, which is important to her.

Denise Hart enjoys painting at different scales and feels that "small paintings invite the observer to step closer and consider them from a more intimate perspective, whereas larger paintings can be bolder and can dominate space more easily." All ten of the paintings Hart submitted were accepted, including her series Diablo #1, 2 and 3. The series was done as studies for a larger work. However, because she found that she liked the different moods expressed in some of the unusual color choices, and the contrast among the three when seen together, she is considering not painting a larger version and states that she likes them for what they are: small works.

Jim McKinness captures viewers' attention by inviting them to look beyond the physical representation of the subjects in his photographs. To accomplish that, he uses traditional camera and darkroom techniques such as soft focus, extreme close-ups, various image blur and soft focus techniques, and high or low contrast.

Denise Miller works with water media, experimenting with different pouring techniques and taking advantage of water's inherent property to flow. She usually uses masking fluids to control the flow, but in the paintings she submitted for this exhibit (three from a series of eight), she did not use any masking on the paper to let the inks make their own paths and mix freely with the other colors.

Oakland artist Clare Olivares submitted her narrative landscape series titled "Night Visions," which "evokes nature's inherent beauty and dark side." Influenced by American painters Agnes Pelton, Georgia O'Keefe and Charles Burchfield, Olivares refers to the phrase "lieux de memoire" or place of memory when composing her paintings, on which she uses saturated color and glazing techniques.

The rest of the fifteen exhibiting artists are Tess Sinclair, Barbara Schneider, Aisyah Ang, Marsha Shaw, Sue Allen, Robert Tartter, Peggy Hansen, Todd Cook, and Maria Romeo.

"Size is not important," says painter Romeo. She states that larger works of art are not necessarily better or more valuable than smaller pieces and reminds us that Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, currently housed in the Louvre Museum, is only 31 x 21 inches. "Art is measured by the quality or intensity of the work."

Small Works Exhibit
October 19 to November 17
Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont
Thursday through Sunday
Noon to 5 p.m.
(510) 791-4357

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