‘Small Worlds’ exhibit makes big impression at TMAWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is exploring the concepts of size and scale with the new exhibit, “Small Worlds,” opening Nov. 18.
“Small Worlds” includes more than 40 pieces from five artists with dioramas, sculptures, photos, a video installation and many other works featuring art on a small scale.
“I wanted to think about how viewers will experience the work in the gallery,” TMA Associate Director Amy Gilman said. “Some pieces are very small, and you are very large in relation to them. When you’re around things that are really small, all of a sudden your body feels bigger.”
Despite the name of the exhibit, not all of the pieces are small.
“I was originally thinking about it only being small work and miniature things,” Gilman said. “It would be a real kind of jewel box show. As I kept thinking, I decided that would be really fun but it would be kind of one-note. I was interested in the smallness of scale. It doesn’t have to be small. It can be small in relation to something else.”
One object small in relation is a 65-square-foot house called the “XS.” It is the smallest model home built by the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, weighs 4,000 pounds and was built on a 7-foot-by-11-foot utility trailer. The house includes a kitchenette, a living room and a loft bedroom capable of holding a queen-size bed.
“One of the things I wanted to do is take the idea of smallness and bring it into our world,” Gilman said. “I wanted to highlight something I’ve noticed, which is a small house movement. It began before the economic downturn, but it has really gained momentum since 2008.
“It is a reaction to the ‘bigger is better’ view of homes. It has everything you need to live in it and is beautifully constructed and designed, but it isn’t 10,000 square feet. The smallest house I could find is this 65-square-foot home. Including that piece in the show is a way of reaching beyond the art world into design, architecture and the green living movement.”
The new exhibit also features houses from Toledo. Northwest Ohio resident Charles Kanwischer created graphite pencil drawings specifically for “Small Worlds” of houses located within a half-mile radius of the museum.
“I love that Charlie did this,” Gilman said. “We had talked about the themes for the show and how you would define a small world differently. He said he was thinking about how the show is centered at the museum and he wanted to make it something personal to Toledo. It says something about artists melding their ideas in dialogue with other things and the place that they live.”
The museum is working new ideas of its own into the exhibit with an online catalog accessible through scannable QR codes. The catalog is designed like a world map, featuring information and content from the artists.
“It’s the first time the museum has done something quite this extensive,” Gilman said. “We’ve had online catalogs for about the past year. It is much more interactive.”
“Small Worlds” is on display in the Canaday Gallery until March 25. The Toledo Museum of Art is located at 2445 Monroe St.
“This show is like my children coming all together,” Gilman said. “It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite out of the show, because I’m the one who chose them all. Some of them would not be shown together normally. It’s because of this specific show. It’s been a great way for us to bring different kinds of artwork to the museum that would not normally be shown here.”