We often consider small things as cute. At a small size, aesthetic purpose can trump utility. How does this human tendency to sentimentalize the minute affect fine art?
The University of Dallas Art Association (UDAA) challenges the conventionalities of art and size with this year’s juried show, “The Very Small Art Show.” The qualifying theme is size. All considered work must be 10 inches or smaller.
The idea for the show came from senior art major Dario Bucheli, the UDAA president.
“I thought it would be interesting to have an exhibition featuring small or tiny art as a way to interest non-art majors to attend and participate in the show,” Bucheli explained. “A tiny art show challenges expectations.”
Bucheli recognizes the “cute” tendency. He says that we usually experience small things as mementos and knick-knacks. They foster intimacy.
“The scale of artwork is so important, because the viewer always compares him or herself to the size of the piece. If an artwork is large, the viewer thinks ‘I’m so small compared to this artwork’ and vice versa,” secretary of the UDAA Caitlin Clay said.
In the case of “The Very Small Art Show,” the small pieces will be advantageous and purposeful. No piece will be overshadowed by another, at least in terms of size.
Making small art also requires an entirely different skill set, Bucheli said. “When you are working in a small scale, you have to reevaluate how to create the piece,” he explained.
But “The Very Small Art Show” involves more than just the art. According to both Bucheli and Clay, the UDAA encourages and values the participation of non-art majors in its shows.
“UDAA’s mission is to foster discussion and interest in art,” Clay said. “By having a show that includes artists of all majors and features contemporary art of their own making, the UDAA is able to work towards fulfilling its mission.”
A college-wide show also helps dispel the major-related stereotypes and prejudices ingrained in the way students perceive each other, as students sometimes disregard the innate creativity of others based on their chosen area of study.
“I believe that everyone is creative in some way,” Clay said. “Art is an expression of oneself, and I definitely believe that UD’s student body is made up of intelligent, creative people who can express themselves in all kinds of unique ways.”
Clay sees the show as an exciting opportunity to explore every person’s unique abilities of creation and expression.
“In a way, it is up to the artists and what they create that determines how the artworks are viewed,” Clay said. “Art today can be really big – whether it’s the size of the canvas or the space the artwork takes up. I am really curious to see how people will react to tiny art.”
So far, a variety of pieces have been submitted, including ceramic pieces and prints. Still, even the officers of the UDAA do not know what to expect from the submissions and the subsequent show: whether the pieces will play up their cuteness or challenge sentimentality.
“The show could be cute,” Bucheli said. “But it doesn’t have to be.”
The UDAA is currently accepting submissions for “The Very Small Art Show.” Drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, ceramic pieces and other media 10 inches and under will be considered. All pieces must be gallery ready. The show will open March 15 with a reception on March 18 at 7 p.m., featuring mini snacks and refreshments. Send submissions as a high quality JPEG file to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, the title of the work, the date of creation and the piece’s medium by Feb. 26.