In small packages: Slope gallery proves bigger isn’t always better

In small packages: Slope gallery proves bigger isn’t always better
It’s the little things: Audrey Anastasi, with her piece “Night Dove” (left), one of the pint-sized pieces at 440 Gallery’s “Small Works Show.”
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Size does not matter.

That is the lesson from 440 Gallery’s ninth annual “Small Works Show,” which features 80 artworks, all no larger than 12-by-12 inches.

The pint-sized pieces were created by artists from all over the country, and utilize a variety of mediums, including painted porcelain and bronze sculptures.

Curator Jessica L. Porter selected the works from 1,000-odd submissions, focusing on pieces that were big on impact — if not stature.

“I focused on works that I thought exhibited strong technical skill and would hold their own,” said Porter, an art consultant who also owns the Porter Contemporary gallery in Manhattan. “Artworks that have a larger presence than their size.”

Though the works hail from all corners of the US, each is reflective of Brooklyn in some way.

While the borough usually conjures images of man-made landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and rooftop water towers, artist Audrey Frank Anastasi — whose artwork “Night Dove” is in the show — said she associates Brooklyn with nature.

Anastasi’s acrylic painting features an ivory dove glowing against a gloomy backdrop. Partially obscured, upside-down text hovers over a portion of the work, giving it the feel of a biologist’s drawing. “Night Dove” is, indeed, a study of sorts.

“Birds that come to my suet feeder, in my Brooklyn backyard, are an endless source of joy and inspiration,” said Anastasi. “I sketch them, photograph them, and search the local bird guides to identify them.”

While Anastasi typically creates much larger paintings, she has discovered some advantages to working in small scale.

“This particular media, both because of its small size, and because of the physical properties of the card surface, allows me to work obsessively, and with spontaneity,” the Bay Ridge-based artist said. “The work is painted on a re–purposed object, in this case being a plastic card created to protect passport photographs. I like the five-by-seven-inch size, and the slick surface reminds me of pushing paint around on slippery finger paint paper, which I did as a child.”

“Small Works Show” at 440 Gallery [440 Sixth Ave. between Ninth and 10th streets in Park Slope, (718) 499–3844, www.440gallery.com]. Exhibition runs through Jan. 12, 2014.

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