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Toledo Museum of Art's Small Worlds exhibition offers new perspectives on size, scale
Joe Fig, Jasper Johns 1963. Wood, polymer clay, oil, acrylic paint, metal, plastic, paper, canvas, fabric, and pencil, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery © Joe Fig.
TOLEDO, OH.- The Toledo Museum of Art challenges us to look at the world from new perspectives through its Small Worlds exhibition on view Nov. 18, 2011–March 25, 2012. Five contemporary artists in the exhibition offer engaging works that create an intimate space or environment or show scenes which are familiar but perhaps slightly askew.

Intricate and intriguing, the drawings, relief paintings, photography and sculpture explore the realms of the home, the studio, the neighborhood, the city and the natural world, said Amy Gilman, curator of contemporary art, associate director of the Museum and organizer of the exhibition.

“The artists encourage the viewer to consider space and perspective in different ways,” said Gilman. “We may feel oversized when peering at Gregory Euclide’s miniature ecosystems, yet small and disoriented when we are surrounded by the video installation by Tabaimo.”

Tabaimo, who represented Japan at the 2011 Venice Biennale, is one of her homeland’s leading young artists. Her surreal, technologically sophisticated video installations of hand-drawn animation reference the aesthetic of traditional ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries and the modern phenomenon of Japanese anime cartoons. Her installation danDAN, shown at its full size for the first time in the United States, provides the experience of being in a home where the rooms shift, the walls become the ceiling and reality is turned upside-down.

Visitors will walk through Gregory Euclide’s new site-specific work, Take it with You-Toledo, to enter the Canaday Gallery, where approximately 40 “small worlds” are rendered in various media. Euclide’s installation incorporates sticks, dirt, wooden creates and other recycled items found at the Museum and its environs to create miniature worlds viewed through peep holes in a structure that cascades from the second floor gallery area to the Museum’s first floor.

Charles Kanwischer’s graphite drawings are uncannily familiar. For this exhibition, the northwest Ohio resident and Bowling Green State University School of Art faculty member created 11 new works depicting houses within a one-mile radius of the Museum.

Rich in detail, the dioramas of Joe Fig’s artist studios and Lori Nix’s photographs of post-apocalyptic scenes she created in miniature are breathtaking in their realism. There’s also a fully functional, 65-square-foot house on the terrace of the Museum on Monroe Street that is part of the exhibition. The smallest home designed by Jay Shafer of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, the extra-efficient “XS” house illustrates the current trend of downsizing. Community partners The Andersons and The Lathrop Company donated materials, labor and space to build the Tumbleweed Tiny House, which features a living room with built-in desk and couch, a kitchenette and a loft bedroom big enough for a queen-size mattress.
Admission to the Museum and Small Worlds is free.

A print catalog in the form of a small box containing a fold-out map, mini book and illustrated check list of works of art in the exhibition, is available for purchase. An online catalog accessed through QR codes in the book enables exploration of the exhibition on a website laid out like a world map. Searching the map lets visitors obtain artist information and additional multi-media content. The online catalog is also accessible through the Museum’s website.

The Small Worlds exhibition is made possible by members of the Toledo Museum of Art and with support in part from the Ohio Arts Council, The Andersons and The Lathrop Company.

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