SCALED DOWN

American Art Collector - - Collector's Focus - BY JOHN O'HERN

Dina Brod­sky tra­di­tion­ally paints tiny im­ages. As a clas­si­cally trained pain­ter, she is loath to sim­plify and elim­i­nate de­tail to ac­com­mo­date her of­ten 2-inch cir­cu­lar for­mat. “I can’t sim­plify to save my life,” she says. For White Tailed Hill­star, a gouache of an iri­des­cent hum­ming­bird, she has ex­panded the for­mat to 3 by 3 inches. The ex­tra­or­di­nary lit­tle bird is na­tive to the north­ern An­des. Brod­sky cites Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who wrote, “bird by bird, I learned to know the earth.” She adds, “I want to know the earth, too.”

Ben Aron­son paints large cityscapes and small, in­ti­mate, still lifes. Re­cently, he ex­per­i­mented dra­mat­i­cally and suc­cess­fully with ex­pand­ing his 12-by-12-inch flo­ral still lifes into a for­mat over 4 feet. The small paint­ings of­ten de­pict one or two blos­soms in a sim­ple tum­bler of wa­ter in dra­matic rak­ing sun­light. He says, “The still lifes have an ephemeral qual­ity. They re­mind you of the tran­si­tory qual­ity of life and re­mind you of your mor­tal­ity. There’s not an in­fi­nite amount of time.” The still lifes, though, are a mo­ment frozen in time—a mo­ment that will be gone but that will be re­peated with an­other flower, an­other glass, an­other win­dow.

Ja­cob A. Pfeif­fer re­calls the for­mer gal­lerist and pro­moter of young re­al­ist artists, John Pence, telling him, “You are full of hu­mor so why not in­clude that in your work?” And that he did. The hu­mor, though, is an an­ti­dote for the world in its cur­rent state. Bleed­ing Hearts brighten any gar­den with their dis­tinc­tive heartshaped blos­soms with a pen­du­lous sta­men sug­gest­ing a drop of blood. Pfeif­fer at­taches a branch to a plas­ter wall with a ban­dage—a bit of sci­en­tific botany and a bit of Pfeif­fer hu­mor. Ran­dall Reid lit­er­ally takes bits of the past and re-con­tex­tu­al­izes them—pre­sent­ing them in a new way. Of­ten, the bits and pieces had no re­la­tion­ship to one an­other in their past lives, but Reid puts them to­gether into co­her­ent com­po­si­tions that

are pleas­ing in a new way. Strips cut from signs, let­ters, num­bers, im­ages, all come to­gether in his work. In Guide­lines he uses the found ob­jects (fold­ing rules) in their whole­ness, group­ing them to­gether to form a geo­met­ric monochro­matic ab­strac­tion. Fold­ing wood rules made it eas­ier for car­pen­ters to carry them from site to site. The 6-foot rule folds down to about 8 inches—a bit of sim­ple, el­e­gant en­gi­neer­ing.

In the fol­low­ing pages are small works and miniature paint­ings that show any sub­ject mat­ter can be re­duced in scale, but main­tain its beauty and de­tail. There also is in­sights into the mar­ket for pur­chas­ing these lit­tle gems.

Lo­cated in Los An­ge­les, Corey Helford Gallery’s goals are “the sup­port and growth of young and emerg­ing, to well­known and es­tab­lished artists, the pro­duc­tion and pro­mo­tion of their art­work, and the gen­eral pro­duc­tion of their ex­hibits, events and projects.” Rep­re­sented are in­ter­na­tional artists who are in­flu­enced by pop cul­ture and work in gen­res such as New Fig­u­ra­tive Art, pop sur­re­al­ism, Neo-pop, graf­fiti and street art, and post­graf­fiti. Among them are Soey Milk, Chie Yoshii and Nigel Cox. Ac­cord­ing to Lot­ton Gallery di­rec­tor Christina Fran­zoso, “Small works are charm­ing lit­tle trea­sures, per­fect gifts for the avid col­lec­tor.” As seen in the Chicago gallery are Ukra­nian-born Dmitri Dan­ish’s paint­ings of col­or­ful and am­bi­ent small land­scapes af­ter a re­cent trip to Italy. Dan­ish’s lat­est Light Rain is an evening

scene set in Venice. In the Al­ley is a quaint day­time com­po­si­tion of an al­ley cafe in Rome. French artist Louis Bas­set’s paint­ings are of his beloved Paris, with his new piece, Paris Mar­ket, cap­tur­ing the iconic French flower mar­kets.

Still life pain­ter Clau­dia Sey­mour finds in­spi­ra­tion “in the ev­ery­day beauty of the nat­u­ral world, es­pe­cially fruit and flow­ers in the con­text of a still life setup with other pieces I have col­lected over the years,” she says. “My goal is to use the play of light over and around these ob­jects to por­tray their color and their in­ter­ac­tion with each other.”

For her paint­ings, Karolyn K. Far­rell is drawn to light around land­scapes or sub­jects. “I en­joy the process of cre­at­ing a piece of work and hope to bring joy, peace or re­mem­brance of good times passed,” she says. “I re­mem­ber the first sketch I did at age 3, Mickey Mouse from the news­pa­pers when I was re­ally want­ing to learn how to read.” When learn­ing, or ex­plor­ing, any sub­ject, Chuck Larivey of­ten starts with smaller can­vases. “The first chal­lenge is cap­tur­ing the essence. Once in place the real fun starts, turn­ing on the lights,” Larivey says. “Ex­plor­ing mood, and the emo­tional as­pect of a paint­ing I call the ‘jump fac­tor!’ The per­sonal stamp that makes us unique amongst many.”

Some peo­ple have de­scribed Rémi LaBarre’s work as painted songs, the kind of art some may want to be sur­rounded

by in their liv­ing room or kitchen just like ra­dio en­riches the am­biance. LaBarre says, “I am very much in­spired by mu­sic and nos­tal­gic mo­ments. I just love to cook so much with peo­ple over it was just nat­u­ral to cre­ate a paint­ing that would evoke that Satur­day around 7 p.m. with a glass of white wine next to the ra­dio play­ing Leonard Co­hen in my home in Mon­treal. When it comes to buy­ing art, the best com­pli­ment is to let the artist know that you ac­tu­ally hear the song play­ing in the back­ground of the paint­ing; that you smell the fresh cut basil.” New York-based artist Max Gins­burg of­ten paints scenes that he finds right out­side his door—scenes that ex­em­plify what is oc­cur­ring around us on a daily ba­sis. He says, “My ob­jec­tive is to paint the re­al­ity of the world I see and ex­pe­ri­ence, truth­fully and with hu­man com­pas­sion.”

Cecilia Bren­del’s paint­ings re­flect her ear­lier tech­ni­cal il­lus­trat­ing ca­reer with oil paint­ing and the com­bi­na­tion is a mix­ture of de­tail and rep­re­sen­ta­tional. Most re­cently, her love of fine de­tails has in­spired her to cre­ate a se­ries of miniature paint­ings. She has started with small oil paint­ings from 8 by 10 inches, 5 by 7 inches, 3 inches and most re­cently down to 1½ inches on solid gold and sil­ver pen­dants. Eliz­a­beth Di­a­mond Com­pany re­cently signed her on to sell her oil paint­ing pen­dants at their high-end jewelry store. They also will be avail­able at Olde Mas­ters Gal­le­ria.

For many years, Camilla Hale lived in the Arkansas Val­ley of Colorado at the foot of Mount Prince­ton. “I watched the as­pen grove span­ning the base grow larger and more beau­ti­ful year af­ter year, fill­ing with greens, then reds and golds,”

Hale says. “This as­pen leaf [in Mount Prince­ton Gold] was found there on the for­est floor.”

An­other artist drawn to her sur­round­ings is K.L. McKenna. She says, “My goal is to cre­ate in­deli­ble im­ages that are uniquely in­di­vid­ual, each with their own identity, per­son­al­ity and pur­pose while at the same time ex­hibit a rec­og­niz­able voice.”

McKenna ex­plains that her land­scapes “re­veal a pro­found at­tach­ment to the nat­u­ral ge­ol­ogy and essence of place in my paint­ings of the West. Mon­u­men­tal rock for­ma­tions meet flat plains; an­gu­lar roads eerily cut through land­scapes seem­ingly un­in­hab­ited; end­less sky and nat­u­ral ge­ome­tries dom­i­nate. If these qual­i­ties fill a space in­side of you, re­live them through these paint­ings.”

Komil­bek Ka­bilov is a pain­ter of Ori­en­tal minia­tures, in­clud­ing his work Vic­tory Over Evil, which is from the Per­sian fairy tales Scheherazade, or One Thou­sand and One Nights. An­other of his works is Royal Hunt­ing, which is a de­pic­tion of a hunt­ing scene from 16th-cen­tury Per­sian minia­tures. All of his works are done us­ing pig­ments, wa­ter­color, tem­pera and gold leaf with a very fine brush on old an­tique pa­per from a mul­berry tree.

The na­ture that is all around us is the in­spi­ra­tion for the col­ored pen­cil draw­ings of Tracey Chaykin. “My love of na­ture pro­pels my de­sire to pre­serve it for gen­er­a­tions to come. I ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in groups like the BirdWhis­perer Project and ABUN - Artists & Bi­ol­o­gists Unite for Na­ture so that my art, in ad­di­tion to dis­tribut­ing with oth­ers who share my affin­ity for na­ture, can be used for the pro­mo­tion of knowl­edge and con­ser­va­tion ef­forts,” Chaykin says. She adds, “In the words of John Ruskin, ‘when love and skill work to­gether, ex­pect a mas­ter­piece.’” Her own works are ones she looks for­ward to shar­ing with peo­ple who ap­pre­ci­ate the awe of na­ture.

Del­i­cate yet pow­er­ful, Sally Ruddy cre­ates an ex­pres­sive, ex­pan­sive body of work that en­cap­su­lates the lit­tle joys and trea­sures of life, re­flect­ing the beauty within. There is a deep, sin­cere ten­der­ness that per­me­ates each in­ti­mate paint­ing, fill­ing the edges and cor­ners with a res­o­lute sense of vis­ceral emo­tion. Every mo­ment is unique, frozen in time for the viewer to ex­pe­ri­ence, each paint­ing hold­ing its breath and await­ing the next mo­ment that is just out of reach.

“My paint­ings are a form of po­etry,” says Ruddy, “you un­der­stand the ‘words’ but some­times they are com­bined in a way that can

sur­prise and de­light you.”

Bev­erly Fa­gan Gilbert­son, who signs her paint­ings with her maiden name of Fa­gan be­cause she feels it is a per­sonal state­ment and some­thing of her own, has eas­ily rec­og­niz­able work whether it mea­sures 2½ by 3½ inches or very large at 48 by 48 inches. Work­ing with the same pal­ette for many years has given her col­lec­tors con­fi­dence that even if the “theme” is dif­fer­ent, her paint­ings will still have the same color and in­ten­sity. Switch­ing back and forth from im­pres­sion­is­tic to ab­stract has kept each paint­ing fresh and in­vites view­ers to step into her world. Her fa­vorite sub­ject is flo­rals, whether land­scape or still life, and cap­tur­ing the move­ment of the colors and “airs” of blooms has been a life­time chal­lenge.

As artist Bar­bara An­dolsek says, “Ev­ery­one, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­panese, has

an iki­gai. The French call it rai­son d’être. Find­ing ‘it’ re­quires a deep and of­ten lengthy search of self. Such a search is re­garded as be­ing very im­por­tant, since it is be­lieved that dis­cov­ery of one’s iki­gai brings sat­is­fac­tion and mean­ing to life. My iki­gai/rai­son d’être is paint­ing. A lovely life equa­tion!”

Bar­bara Stan­ton has al­ways loved to paint small be­cause she can start and fin­ish the pieces in just a few ses­sions in­stead of months. “I love the de­tails and it’s all de­tails. I love a chal­lenge. It’s not that easy paint­ing so tiny,” Stan­ton says. “Ev­ery­thing about paint­ing small felt right to me. I never wanted to go back.”

Stan­ton is most in­spired by na­ture, color and light and the world she lives in where she never runs out of sub­jects to paint. “I be­lieve that paint­ing minia­tures has helped me learn to paint bet­ter be­cause I learn from every piece and I can paint more pieces in less time than if I had painted in full size,” Stan­ton re­marks. “Every miniature has all the same prob­lems to solve as a full size piece. I don’t con­sider my­self a minia­tur­ist. I am an artist who spe­cial­izes in paint­ing minia­tures.”

Colin Starke­vich is a Cana­dian artist who has been por­tray­ing the Cana­dian

Grass­lands re­gion in stun­ning beauty and mys­tery for a num­ber of years in his con­stantly grow­ing Grass­land Se­ries. Among his new­est pieces is the 5-by-7-inch paint­ing Among the Shad­ows – Mule Deer that captures the lush land­scape and the crea­ture in a small size.

John Cutruzzola’s paint­ings emerge from his per­sonal ob­ser­va­tions; his sense that the minute, hours or days within each sin­gle event fill the space of one’s en­tire life. Among his small-scale pieces is Beauty in the Light, which high­lights the dra­matic el­e­ments of color and light that he uses in his paint­ings to ex­press a sense of pres­ence and un­der­ly­ing emo­tion.

Chris­tine Bass, an award-win­ning artist whose pieces have been fea­tured in many an­nual miniature shows, shares her love of na­ture through her land­scape pas­tel paint­ings. She says, “I en­deavor to share the beauty of the world around us through my art.” Bass does not uses brushes to pro­duce minute de­tails in her works, re­sult­ing in “a unique blend of scenic per­spec­tives that lean to­ward the im­pres­sion­is­tic yet are so re­al­is­tic that the viewer feels a need to be­come a part of the scene.”

1. LewAllen Gal­leries, Gar­de­nias in Sun, oil on panel, 12 x 12", by Ben Aron­son. 2. Gar­vey|Si­mon, White Tailed Hill­star, gouache on pa­per, 3 x 3", by Dina Brod­sky. 3. Meyer Gallery, Bleed­ing Hearts, oil, 8 x 8", by Ja­cob A. Pfeif­fer. 4. Nüart Gallery, Guide­lines, steel, wood and oil, 9¼ x 9¼ x 2", by Ran­dall Reid.

5. Corey Helford Gallery, Linger, oil on linen, 12 x 12", by Nigel Cox. 6. Corey Helford Gallery, An­other Face, oil on wood panel, 14 x 11", by Chie Yoshii. 7. Clau­dia Sey­mour, A Pun­net of Plums, oil on linen panel, 8 x 10" 8. Corey Helford Gallery, Non­ame My Heart, oil and Wyan­dotte feather on panel, 20 x 16", by Soey Milk. 9. Clau­dia Sey­mour,Lemons and Lu­naria, oil on linen, 8 x 10" 10. Karolyn K. Far­rell, Flint Creek at Illi­nois River, oil on can­vas, 9 x 12" 11. Karolyn K. Far­rell, On Lo­ca­tion – Tus­cany Chapel Gar­den, oil on can­vas, 12 x 9"

21. K.L. McKenna, Cot­ton­wood Stand, HF Bar Ranch, WY, oil onboard, 15 x 17" 22. Dan McWil­liams, Red Swim­suits, oil, 10 x 8"

23. Lot­ton Gallery, Paris Mar­ket, oil on can­vas, 12 x 16", by Louis Bas­set. 24. K.L. McKenna, Ghost Ranch, New Mex­ico, oil on board, 8 x 8" 25. Lot­ton Gallery, Light Rain, oil on can­vas, 14 x 8", by Dmitri Dan­ish. 26. Komil­bek Ka­bilov, Vic­tory Over Evil, pig­ments, wa­ter­color, tem­pera and gold leaf on an­tique mul­berry pa­per, 8¼ x 5/"27. Lot­ton Gallery, In the Al­ley, oil on can­vas, 16 x 10", by Dmitri Dan­ish. 28. Komil­bek Ka­bilov, Royal Hunt­ing, pig­ments, wa­ter­color, tem­pera and gold leaf on an­tique mul­berry pa­per, 9⁄ x 5¾" 29. Tracey Chaykin, Blu, col­ored pen­cil on pa­per, 10 x 8" 30. Tracey Chaykin, Amer­i­can Lady, col­ored pen­cil on pa­per, 5 x 5" 31. Sally Ruddy, Bud­dha With Orchid, oil on can­vas, 10 x 10" 32. Colin Starke­vich, Among the Shad­ows – Mule Deer, oil on ges­soboard, 5 x 7" 33. Bev­erly Fa­gan Gilbert­son, Pears, acrylic on panel, 6 x 6"

pas­tel, 4 x 3" 35. Sally Ruddy, Cof­fee Black, acrylic on panel, 6 x 6" 38. Bar­bara Stan­ton, Rain­bows on the Beach,36.

oil on can­vas, 6 x 6" Bar­bara An­dolsek, Sher­bet Cone, oil on board, 7 x 5 x ½"oil on board, 4 x 3" 39. John Cutruzzola, Beauty in the Light,

34. Chris­tine Bass, Rip­pling Through the Quiet, 37. Bev­erly Fa­gan Gilbert­son, Or­anges, oil on can­vas, 14 x 18"

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