NEW YORK, NY.- Bernard Jacobson Gallery
presents Distilled in their New York location from June 4th to July 26th 2014.
While the art world is accommodating the publics thirst for spectacle and the size of artwork is ever increasing, this show attempts to investigate the appeal of the distilled, the modest and the small. Whether we consider subversive the challenge that a small work offers to the large canvas, or whether we consider relevant the intimate experience afforded to the viewer, is the appeal of the small painting still alive or did it go the way of cabinet pictures and religious icons?
A small work can be powerful, it can deliver a punch well in excess of its size. The smaller surface area demands the distillation process, while proportion and scale, which are not subject to size, can still be used to full effect.
The exhibition includes the work of Robert Motherwell, Sam Francis, Larry Bell and Helen Frankenthaler, along with a small group of contemporary New York artists and the prominent contemporary British artists, Marc Vaux and William Tillyer.
With all of these works, the process of distillation is clear. With many of them, including the works of Sam Francis, Marc Vaux and William Tillyer, there is the shared quality of the use of light and color to transcend the edges of the frame, to make a big statement in a modest format.
Scale plays an important role in many of the included works. In Robert Motherwells, Two Figures No. 12, from 1958, the dark shapes encroach to fill the entire 7 x 9 ½ inch space. What results is the impression of a much larger painting as the shapes loom out of the frame.
The quality of miniature is best seen in the collage works by Larry Bell, which he called Fractions, and in the smallest work in the show, a painting by Nicola Ginzel. These works have in common a jewel like quality that cannot be imagined on a larger scale. The smallness in itself produces potency.