Mighty Small

- curated by Olivia Welch, 2013

22 April to 17 May

'Mighty Small' was conceptualised after rifling through Brenda May Gallery's archives and finding an invitation to a previous exhibition entitled 'Small' and an image of an art vending machine from the early 1990's made by a group of students. Adopting the tiny scale of 'Small', I curatorially aimed for the works in 'Mighty Small' to not only be little in size, but rely on this scale as an integral part of the work's desired impact. The organisation of the vending machine was definitely a labour of love, inspiring artists to make wonderful miniature works accessible in price and available to be purchased in an exciting and interactive way.

 

Artwork on an immense scale often enthrals and consumes, whereas smaller works captivate on a much more intimate level, drawing the viewer in for closer inspection. This exhibition was not simply concerned with works that are little, but works that defy the very notion of small meaning less or denoting an absence. It  presented work that is compact, but is in every way just as powerful, notable and spectacular.

 

Often viewers find ample satisfaction in giving works of art a simple glance, spending only seconds with the piece. Many of the works in Mighty Small demanded time and a close examination, particularly in the case of Mylyn Nguyen’s installation of intricately hand crafted and painted life-sized bumblebees that seemingly hovered in their swarm formation. Todd Fuller’s film ‘adrift’ playing from a pint-sized terracotta suitcase, Lezlie Tilley’s shells, rocks and stones impeccably arranged in grid formations, Clare Toms' intensely detailed paintings exploring texture and form, as well as Bianca Chang’s meticulously cut paper works, all captivated on the intimate level of intrigue. The Mighty Small Vending Machine Project, featuring around 300 specifically made artworks, proved to be amazingly popular and enticed many gallery-goers to purchase an original artwork for a 'mighty small' price.

 

 

Images courtesy of the Artists and Brenda May Gallery, Sydney

 

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© 2014. Olivia Welch lives and works on the unceded traditional lands and waters of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. She acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

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