It’s a Small World Afterall: Exposition D’art Miniature
Written by Genie Davis
Artist and curator Kate Carvellas was fed up with the world “at large.” Like so many of us, she felt the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. But for this artist, that isolation led her to explore a smaller and ultimately more beautiful world by creating a 1:12 -scale replica of a 19th Century French farmhouse. She constructed her detailed, elegant home from cardboard, foam core, balsa wood and plaster gauze, shaping an astonishingly realistic construction.
“Due to Covid and everything else going on, I found myself unable to create my usual artwork, but I still very much needed to focus my creative energy on something,” Carvellas explains. I’ve always loved miniatures and long story short, instead of purchasing a kit or pre-made 1/12 scale house, I decided to build one – which became my creative outlet for the last five months. It saved my sanity,” she laughs.
The design inspiration was inspired by a house in the television series Dr. Who, the artist attests, describing it as “the house that Amy Pond lived in as a child.” She adds “But after doing some research, I decided to go with a French farmhouse built in the mid-1800’s, [one that] exists in present time.”
Asked the most enjoyable and the most challenging elements of constructing the work, she says “The most fun was creating the floor plan and actually constructing the structure of the house. The most challenging was finishing up all the details inside. Since I did not really research how to build a mini-house, I made it much more difficult for myself when I reached this stage in the build.”
But fortunately for the viewer, she persisted. From thatched roof to popsicle-stick parquet wood floors, the tiny and beautiful space she created was more than just a miniature farmhouse – it would make a delightful art gallery.
According to Carvellas, “In my mind I was imagining the house refurbished with the new owner having their own mini art collection. From there I decided to turn the house into a temporary art gallery and invite artist friends to participate.”
And so that is exactly what it became, with both Carvellas herself and invited artists submitting perfectly sized miniature artworks.
“I reached out to around 100 artists,” she attests. “I was really psyched when I received so many positive responses – over 60 artists. It being such an unusual idea, I wasn’t sure how many artists would be on board.”
Paintings, sculptures, mixed-media, fiber art, photographic works – they are all there, and as carefully curated as in a full-size museum.
The space is reminiscent of Picasso’s house/museum in the Marais arrondissement of Paris, if it existed in a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” world. This is a lovely living space repurposed with beautiful art on its walls and sculptural pieces positioned on pedestals both inside and outside them.
Exposition D’art Miniature debuted as a virtual walkthrough on Facebook and You Tube December 19th along with a catalog of the images. Tiny red dots are already appearing next to the artworks: they are selling like tiny, reasonably priced hotcakes.
Participating artists include: A. Laura Brody, Adeola Davies-Aiyeloja, Alyson Souza, Aviva Diamond, Ben Mcginty, Ben Zask, Bibi Davidson, Cammie Jones, Cindy Rinne, Dave Lovejoy, David Tanner, Debbi Swanson Patrick, Dianne Cockerill, Dori Atlantis, Dwora Fried, Edwin Vasquez, Faina Kumpan, Gay Summer Sadow Rick, Glenn Waggner, Heather Campbell Morrow, Heather Lowe, Jan Book, Joanne Julian, Janet Milhomme, Joanne Julian, Jodi Bonassi, John Hogan, Joy Ray, Karen Hochman Brown, Karen Ruth Karlsson, Kate Carvellas, Kathryn Pitt, Kira Vollmnan, Kristine Augustyn, Laura Larson, Leah Knecht, Leah Shane Dixon, Leigh Salgado, Margot Bloom, Maria Bjorkdhal, Marthe Aponte, Melissa Reichman, Nancy Kay Turner, Nancy Youdelman, Nurit Avesar, Pascaline Doucin Dahlke, Peggy Jo Sivert, Peter Hess, Richard Bruland, Robyn Alatorre, Sarah Stone, Scott Rolfe, Sharon Suhovy, Stephanie Sydney, Stevie Love, Sudrak Khongpuang, Suki Moon Pie, Susan Joseph, Suzanne Gibson, Tamara Porter Tolkin, Terri Lloyd, Todd Westover, Tracey Weiss, Wini Brewer.
To see the work of these awesome artists so tiny is in itself a fantastic way to witness their perfection. Writ small versus large, it’s perhaps easier to appreciate how perfectly crafted they are, how brilliant the detail.
Asked her favorite pieces, Carvellas demurs. “Gosh, I can’t answer that question. Everybody came with their ‘A’ game.”
Indeed, it’s hard for anyone to play favorites. There’s the lustrous oil work by Gay Summer Sadow Rick; lovely reproductions of work by Sarah Stone, Karen Hochman Brown, a haunting reproduction by Janet Milhomme, and the magic whimsy of Glenn Waggner; the lustrous mixed media of Stevie Love; Kristine Augustyne’s lush acrylic floral image; a gorgeous translucent sculpture by Tracey Weiss; and mini-versions of Carvellas’ own abstract sculptures. Also astonishing are works from Heather Morrow Campbell, whose tiny porcelain vases, pots, and jars are shaped in vivid colors; depth-filled abstract mixed media from Maria Bjordhal, as well as other compelling mixed media from Marthe Aponte, Nurit Avesar and from Peggy Jo Sivert; and an opalescent monotype from Karen Rutt Karlsson. There’s fiber art from Cindy Rinne and Joy Ray, bronze sculptures from Laura Larsonand stunning assemblages from artists such as Dave Lovejoy and Dwora Fried; and don’t miss photographic treats from L. Aviva Diamond and Diane Cockerill, and a dazzling abstract lenticular by Heather Lowe. And don’t miss works from Ben Zask, Ben McGinty, Bibi Davidson, and a beautiful bird soaring from Jodi Bonassi. But, the list of fascinating 1:12 scale pieces of original artwork is too numerous to mention – truly every piece is worthy of praise, both as art and as miniature perfection.
As of Sunday night, Carvellas relates “I am beyond happy to say that 31 pieces have sold.” That’s a full half of these splendid works, and it won’t be surprising to see them sell out.
Asked what’s next, she jokes “Rest!” but notes that after catching her breath she has two large unfinished mixed media pieces to complete, work she now feels fully equipped to finish. “Creating the miniature sculptures that I made for this show was rather cathartic. So was bringing the miniature house, exhibit and virtual walkthrough to fruition.”
It was for the viewer as well. Enter this small world of perfection with a visit-through-video.
The catalog of works both sold and unsold is available for viewing.
Viewing them is a holiday present for yourself.