I rarely give myself solo shows in the miniature space, the Angelica Kauffman Gallery – because it’s booked out with other shows, and because I’m trying to work larger. An artist needed more time to develop their work, and there was a little gap in the schedule, so I gave myself a little show. This is something I’ve been meaning to try – using quilt blocks in the micro gallery as a monumental mini.
This show has been well received online and I’m happy with it. And also, it’s a good example of what works and what doesn’t work in the mini gallery. What does work – I’m pleased that it really does “read” as an installation on the walls. What doesn’t work – there just aren’t enough pieces, or variety, to make it interesting for multiple weeks on social media.
I often tell artists who would like to propose a show in the mini gallery what seems to work well – what I’ve learned over the past 3+ years as a curator of mini shows. Variety. Variety of size and type of work. The gallery can hold about 7-9 (ish) pieces of miniature art, and if they’re all the same size, medium, and style, our eyes can take it all in very quickly. And maybe that means we’re not looking closely enough, but it’s more interesting if our eye is slowed as we look around the gallery. Slowed by different materials, sizes, finishes, processes. And detail. Viewers of the micro gallery really appreciate details, and being amazed by what they see, wondering how on earth was that made?
And naturally, what works at this scale is also true at full size. It’s just easier to see at this scale. And that’s one of the gifts of being a mini curator. Wait, no, I’m a full size person, but a curator of mini art. The gift is learning these lessons by putting on show after show after show – I’ve lost count again but it’s well over 40 shows total, about half solo shows and half group shows. And I can apply these lessons to my own artwork, in my own full size solo shows and proposals.
Another gift is this idea – the show in the photo above as a model, or mock up, for a full size show. It would be expensive and time consuming to make pieces this large just to test out the idea. And I don’t have the walls for it. If I didn’t already have an extra micro gallery sitting in the studio, I doubt I would have build one just to test the idea. I just wouldn’t have thought of it.
But when you spend so much time putting on small art shows, and receptions, in small boxes, it’s nearly always on your mind. Tiny art in tiny places.
I really would like to do this, or a variation on this, at large scale. Next I might try it at medium scale. The gallery is 1:12, meaning 1 inch in the gallery is equal to 1 foot in the big world. So these quilt blocks would be about 6 feet across. Wouldn’t that look cool?
This kind of physical mock up perhaps takes more time than a digital mock up, but it’s more fun (to me) and faster. And I would feel completely comfortable submitting photos like this as part of a show proposal.
So, there you have it. It’s an interesting show, but in the pressure cooker world of Instagram, not enough works, or detail.
P.S. The Terrain Biennial is happening now! It runs October 1-November 15th. That will be my next post, I guess! I’m also teaching a ton of classes. It does feel like most of what I’m doing right now is mini gallery or teaching. But I am keeping up my studio hours and work is happening, quietly, behind the scenes. More in a bit!
P.P.S. Can you believe there are only 3 months left in the year? Now less than 90 days? After the slo-mo of the pandemic, it feels like this year has flown/is flying by.