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The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf to Open at Bellevue Arts Museum this Summer
Learning to Build, 1989 / Sterling silver, wood, copper, 4” x 3” x 1” / Collection of the Chiwoo Craft Museum, Seoul, Korea / Photo credit: John Wilson White, Phocasso, San Francisco.

BELLEVUE, WA.- This summer, Bellevue Arts Museum brings the engaging and spirited work of leading art jeweler, Bruce Metcalf, to life. Comprised of over 70 pieces dating from the 1970s to the present, “The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf” is the artist’s first major exhibition and makes its Northwest debut at Bellevue Arts Museum on view June 27 through October 18, 2009.

Physically big-headed with atrophied limbs, Metcalf's figures are born from cartoon traditions. Cast in silver or carved in wood, these strange characters examine social, moral and political issues, many of which Metcalf has raised in his essays. A close encounter with the proverbial tarantula in the “Cracker Jack Box;” a squinting fellow undergoing an empathic meltdown during the compassionate act of nourishing another in "Offering Sustenance;” a train layout for static Märklin HO trains with trompe l’oeil surfaces by the artist – Metcalf’s alluring miniaturized worlds engage the unsuspecting viewer with the artist’s stories and his distinct visual language. Some of the pieces serve dual lives as wearable brooches where they venture into our world to find new meaning.

In this exhibition, size matters – the diminutive kind. By emphasizing the miniscule, meaning is enlarged. “There's no scale in the imagination, and very small things can become psychologically large," Metcalf observes.

Born in 1949, Metcalf has long been recognized as a leading art jeweler, curator, essayist and critic of contemporary craft. His work has been featured in major exhibitions, including the Museum of Arts & Design, NY; Akron Art Museum, OH and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC among others. A 120-page full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

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