Great art in a tiny package

Jun 24, 2012, 07:30 IST | Phorum Dalal

Tao Art Gallery will exhibit Small is Beautiful, which has brought together 70 artistes and 130 miniature works to introduce art to first-time buyers

If you had been planning to invest in art, now is the time, and Small Is Beautiful, an exhibition of multiple artists at Tao Art Gallery, might be a good place to start. Seven years ago, Kalpana Shah, curator of Tao Art Gallery, made a visit to the Philip private museum in Washington and came across a painting the size of a postcard. “The frame of the artwork was 5 inches wide, much larger than the painting itself. But it attracted my attention for a very long time. ‘Can such a small piece of art be so powerful?’ I had thought back then. Three months ago, the very same piece came to my mind, and inspired me to do a miniature exhibition,” she recalls. 

 Devadutta Padekar

Shah has brought together 70 artistes, including sculptor Arzan Khambhatta, artists Brinda Miller, Ravi Mandlik and Jaideep Mehrotra, Lalitha Lajmi, Paresh Maity and Samir Mondal. The exhibition will showcase around 130 artworks.

Sudhir Patwardhan

Shah says whenever she is invited to dinner, after the initial conversation, her eyes invariably, fall on the walls of the host’s home, looking for an artwork, a wall hanging or anything attractive. “This is a good opportunity for first-time and small buyers. Most of the pieces are 24 inches by 24 inches, and can be put up on a small wall. They will also be light on the pocket, as they are priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 2 lakh,” she explains.

Brinda Miller

Artist Lalitha Lajmi, whose paintings reflect the hidden tensions between man and women, says she wanted to work on small size canvases for some time. “After working on a large canvas, it is difficult to condense the work. I have created two paintings, called the Head Series for this exhibition.”  

Sculptor Arzan Khambhatta has also created two pen and ink paintings, which are 1 by 1 ft in size. “I have sketched human figures with a geographical orb around them. More work goes into miniatures, as they demand more detailing, which makes them more interesting,” he says.

Canvas painter Brinda Miller, who has earlier worked with miniatures as well as large canvases, has created two tiny pieces of 6 by 6 inches each, titled Summer Solstice and Spring Equinox. “It is ideal for people who want to buy art, but don’t want a large painting. With a large canvas, one can go wild; the strokes have the potential to fly from from left to right. Working on the miniature itself is a form of craftsmanship. I like the tinkering I have to do. It lets me have fun with my work, unlike a large project, which can turn into a serious process for the artist,” explains Miller.

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