Sometimes, it’s the little details that count. Sometimes it’s the tiny details.
This was brought home to me one night in the studio, as I was engaged in the mundane task of trimming long lengths of rice paper. My attention was caught by a peculiar, painted shape on a scrap of paper.
This little scrap was just one centimetre wide but it seemed to contain a huge abstract painting!
My interest was piqued and soon, I was discovering great landscapes and moonscapes and tempestuous cloudscapes and funny faces and minute maps in every scrapeen of discarded rice paper.
(Isn’t that like a map of Europe up above?)
Not many people know this but actually, I have two installations in my exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery. One is tall and is suspended from the gallery ceiling; the other is on the floor, at the back. It’s made up of thousands of rice paper ‘leaves’.
I was thinking about scale in art. Why are we instantly impressed by large paintings or large sculptures? What about the finer details? Actually, the author Paddy Woodworth who officially opened my show at the Olivier Cornet Gallery alluded to this last week.
You can get magnifying lenses with LED lights these days that open up whole new worlds to explore. When you’re in the forest, it’s not just the trees and the wildlife you can see – there’s also the mosses and lichens and creepy crawlies (although, ultra-magnified creepy crawlies can give one the heebie jeebies so maybe avoid them).
But ‘small is beautiful’ as E.F.Schumacher wrote back in 1973 and wasn’t he right! He argued that modern economic practices were unsustainable, that natural resources were finite, and that we needed a new philosophy of “enoughness”.
Now more than ever, that makes good sense.
And come to think of it, this is not the first time we’ve seen tiny artworks. Do you remember the Tondo exhibition a couple of years ago, on Culture Night? We had an exhibition in a small crate. We carried it around on the back of a yellow bicycle and parked it in various places around town.
I wonder did we open a pandora’s box that night? Your comments please, way down below…