Small Scale Stories – Part 1
A drizzly winter’s day has ignited my interest in all things internal, leaving me content to be read a good book and enjoy the intimate interior view. The bold bright Brisbane landscape, city lights and expense of blue sky have been temporarily swapped for these small scale stories.
Right on cue, the Lethbridge Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane has delivered the Lethbridge 10000 Small Scale Art Award showcasing pint-sized works. The finalists are on display at the Latrobe Terrace gallery from 13 June to 28 July 2015. The idea behind the annual Small Scale Art award is to foster creativity by inviting national and international artists to submit paintings, drawings, photographs and 2D works with the constraint that they must not measure more than 61cm in any direction.
Finalist works on display were largely representational, and I particularly enjoyed the warmth and humor many of these little pieces conveyed. Karl de Waal won the Creativity Award for his delightfully nostalgic Channel 27, a mixed media work of assembled found materials portraying cowboys of childhood – inscribed both in and onto the cover of a cloth-bound hardcover book. Artist Lynden Stone’s work, A Reminder of Nows Too, received a Highly Commended with his mini-portraits depicting close-up or ‘Selfie-like’ perspective of three children. Each portrait is painted on a separate timber square, they are assembled into a wooden frame and appear to slide, reminding us of a sliding puzzle game.
Many of the works communicated a shared vista, or a still frame in a fleeting narrative. Maria Flourou’s, Dreams of a Boy, is a dreamy and intriguing work, in which a boy sits blindfolded by a red striped kerchief while an exposed landscape is layered across the boy’s seated form. Flourou studied arts at school and University, and her photographic works use mobile photography, challenging notions of the disposable digital snapshot. Her mobile photographic works have been exhibited at the LA Mobile Arts Festival (LAMAF) and the Head on Film Festival in Sydney. Her work, Quixotic, was used as the hero image for the Head On festival 2014 and was also a finalist for the Lethbridge 10000.
Flourou is among the growing number of artists, designers and photographers that are using Instagram as their primary location for sharing work. Instagram is a place where artists can share professional-quality work and represent themselves to a wider audience, Flourou’s @muzbanger feed has over 20,000 followers, arguably a much larger audience than available via the traditional gallery context. Instagram provides a platform for like-minded artists to share and collaborate on work. Flourou is a member of the online collective, The Mnemonics – a group of photographers who met and connected on Instagram.
Engage Arts will delve into issues around online copyright law and social media in an upcoming blog post, and explore the recent controversial exhibition of U.S. artist Richard Prince’s ‘appropriated’ Instagram photos.
The constraints of working on a small-scale challenge makers to achieve more with less. As spectators, we experience works through this reduced frame, presenting proximity and affording moments of intimacy and contemplation. Whether it be a mixed media work or hand-held photographs, I for one am enjoying pocket-sized pieces that chase the winter blues away.
Betters, E 2015, 31 incredible photographers to follow on Instagram right now, <http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/131470-31-incredible-photographers-to-follow-on-instagram-right-now>.
Head On Photo Festival 2015, <https://headon.com.au/>.
Lethbridge Gallery, Lethbridge 10000 Finalists 2015, <https://www.brettlethbridge.com/10000finalists.php?finalist_year=2015>.
Price, R 2015, An artist is making $100,000 a pop off other people’s Instagram photos — and it could be totally legal, Business Insider Australia, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/richard-lewis-instagram-photos-100000-dollars-new-york-new-portraits-copyright-2015-5>.