Little Art at Seton Hall's Walsh Gallery
"Lilliput: Tiny Art for Big People" will be on display from June 8 to July 23.
It's said that art is in the eye of the beholder, and visitors to Seton Hall's Walsh Gallery will put their powers of perception to test when they view the miniaturized works at the latest exhibition.
"Lilliput: Tiny Art for Big People" features works by 47 artists from far-flung locations including South Orange, Michigan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. There were no specifications directing artists as to theme, but they were instructed to submit pieces no larger than 1.5 inches in any direction.
The exhibition is an expanded version of a show presented in 2007 at the former Red Saw Gallery in Newark—a significantly smaller space than the Walsh Gallery— and runs from June 8 to July 23. There's an opening reception on June 11 from 5 to 9 p.m.
"We were interested to see what happened when we moved it to a typical white cube space," said Walsh Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile, who observed that the exhibition is intended to make viewers feel like detectives, since they're given magnifying glasses to inspect pieces that are often installed at atypical heights, creating the necessity to crouch, kneel or tiptoe.
Despite the large number of works featured, they all fit onto one tabletop prior to being installed.
"It wasn't about filling the space; it's because we got that many good submissions," said Asha Ganpat, who co-curated both shows with Brasile.
Among the entries was a series of six toothpicks whittled into forms including a lumberjack, giraffe and hummingbird by Michael Drummond; a series of doctored stamps including one with the face of Bernie Madoff and the inscription "Commemorating greed" by Michael Thompson; a video installation with a microscopic view of blood and semen with the recording of a heart beat from an EKG by Michelle Levante; and a two-part installation in which video taken from one pedestal is beamed onto a tiny TV set in front of a miniature chair in another part of the room by Boris Petropavlovsky and Anna-Alisa Belous.
"The fact that these are small and have detail and you need a visual aid to help you really encourages active looking," said Brasile.
Among the featured artists is South Orange resident Florence Weisz, who has been creating collages deconstructing the faces of U.S. presidents since the Reagan administration in a series entitled "Presidential Manipulations." A display case featuring "Reaganart", "Bushart," "Clintonart" and "Obamart" is currently just outside of the Walsh Gallery.
For the "Lilliput" show, Weisz made a digital collage miniaturizing her recent "Obamart: Flag" piece, in which President Obama's face is embedded in the flag.
"I was thinking about the flag and thought, 'Oh, why not make it very, very, very small,'" she said. "And I felt that the miniscule size belies the importance of our president."