Small shots

Bigger art isn't always better art

Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2005


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  "It's Not Easy Being Green," by Scott Steindorf

"It's Not Easy Being Green," by Scott Steindorf

As with diamond rings, keys to a new car and plane tickets to Bermuda, the exhibition at the Kenai Fine Arts center shows good things come in small packages — or frames, in this case.

In "Small Shots," an open art show for two-dimensional mediums, submissions were limited to a maximum size of 60 square inches.

Organizer William Heath designed the show for small images to counter the philosophy of "if you can't make it good, make it big."

Producing quality art on a small scale poses different challenges than large-scale work.

"A small piece requires a high level of detail and you have to get impact in a small area," Heath said. "You don't have that huge canvass that's pulling people across the room. You have to put in a high-impact piece that will attract people across the room."

Once a viewer has been drawn to a piece, it also has to stand up to close scrutiny.


"Important: Installer," by Michael Dinkel

"Big pieces you stand back from and take it all in. With small pieces everybody expects to put their noses up to it and find details."

Bold colors can help grab attention, but even a monotone or black-and-white piece can be strong if the artist mastered line, composition and other artistic elements, Heath said. Additionally, the picture should be visually interesting, yet simple, since there isn't a lot of room to have too much going on.

Another benefit of a show for small-format work is it gives inexperienced artists, without the resources to create and frame a large piece, a chance to have their work exhibited.

"It's great to have so many first-time exhibitors get that stuff in a frame and get it out there," Heath said, adding that it is a scary experience the first time an artist opens their work to public scrutiny. "I'm always impressed when someone takes that step and puts it out there."


"Leah," by Natasha Ala Johnson

This is the second "Small Shots" show Heath has organized. This year's drew almost double the entries as the last one, he said. There are 48 pieces from 19 artists in this year's show, many of whom are first-time exhibitors from the photography program at Kenai Peninsula College.

Heath said he also was happy to see paintings and mixed-media work.

"I was really pleased because I was trying to expand the whole idea," he said. "I really like photographers and other artists in two-dimensional (mediums) to spend time together and there's things they can learn form each other."

"Small Shots" is on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Center through May 28.

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