Six Appeal

6x6 show proves it’s not the size of the art, but how you use it

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Past Event

Opening: "6x6"

  • Sunday, April 12, 2009, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Bourgeois Pig, 6 E. Ninth, Lawrence
  • All ages / Free

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Said that loony broad in the turban from “Sunset Boulevard,” Norma Desmond, “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small.” Most of the artists in the 6x6 show, while not suffering from the megalomaniacal dementia of Ms. Desmond, might tend to agree. 6x6 solves the twin conundrums of how to a) showcase a legion of artists within limited gallery space and b) produce pieces at a mass market price that might actually sell in a crap economy. The show, curated by Molly Murphy, collects dozens of creative types from the Lawrence area and downsizes them to a 6-inch by 6-inch format. Some of the artists from 6x6 gave us a sneak peak of their petite pieces and discussed the benefits of thinking small.

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"Inside," by Betsy Timmer

Betsy Timmer, “Inside”
“I’ve been working 3-dimensionally, almost exclusively, for the past 6 or 7 years. Over the past six months, though, I’ve been getting the 2-D itch. When I was asked to participate in this show, I instantly had the idea to do drawings. It was great to put my thoughts down on paper rapidly. It’s also nice to be able to work anywhere. Small sized drawings fit in your bag and can travel anywhere—from your studio, to the kitchen table, to work, to the doctor's office. ‘Inside’ has to do with feeling stuck. The setting is dark and gloomy. The female figure is uncomfortably wedged in her house. She’s way too big for the space and can't sit up straight or stretch her legs. She feels awkward and depressed. I added the mailbox to create a sense of anticipation. I always think of the mail as having great potential—it’s unknown, unpredictable and unexpectedly exciting. In fact, I enjoy going to my mailbox each day. I usually don’t find anything special, but I love to imagine the possibilities. Perhaps this woman is waiting for an important communication that will change her situation.”

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“Recycling the Old,” by Alicia Carr

Alicia Carr, “Recycling the Old”
“All of my work is pretty much abstracted forms taken from nature and I’ve started playing with the idea of using paper in a 3-D way. I’m morphing forms off of the paper and sewing them together. It’s a whole bunch of organic lines abstracted and juxtaposed with hard edged lines. There’s not a particular subject. I don’t plan anything anymore—I kind of stopped doing that a while ago. It works out better that way. I don’t have a car, so I pretty much walk everywhere, and I’ll pick up rocks here and there. I’ll really look at the shadows and kind of go from there. It’s super fun to work in this 6x6 format, because everything I do is meticulous and obsessive, and I could go even deeper into my obsessive-ness with these. I stretched really thin Japanese paper over an embroidery circle, and the small format almost gave me more room to play.”

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"Dreamlet for John," by Natalie Ann Dye

Natalie Ann Dye, “Dreamlet for John”
“It’s a restaurant doodle on a placemat—let’s call it a minimalist figurative gestural with a cloudlet of whimsy. I can’t resist doodling on placemats while I’m waiting for my food. This one came from India Palace. I’ve had a flirtation with Molly Murphy through doodles on bar napkins—like so many people do—and I thought the 6x6 format was a really good way to present things like this. I’ve amassed tons of these doodles. They’re stuffed in my purse. If you see the world in Polaroids and little napkin doodles, this format is perfect.”

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“Slipstream,” Laurie Culling

Laurie Culling, “Slipstream”
“It’s an acrylic abstract painting. What I like about the 6-inch size is that it’s easy and affordable. You can get a good variety of different artists at that size and it makes it more fun. Shows that have limitations are a good exercise for us. I love the idea of different artists coming together and working on group shows like this. Those of us who are older, we’re not going to be around forever. The younger artists are going to continue on, so the more we can interact community-wise—to share our ideas, enthusiasm and experiences—it’s a really good thing. There are over 800 working artists in Lawrence right now, so it’s great when so many of them can show at once.”

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“Isla Mujeres, 12:45,” by Ann Dean

Ann Dean, “Isla Mujeres, 12:45”
“They’re photos of a wall in Isla Mujeres, this little island of the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. They’re part of a series of light studies called ‘Color, Line, and Texture.’ I just drove around on the island in this golf cart for a few hours, drinking beers, and hopping out whenever I saw something interesting. As a photographer, I had a lot of fun with the 6x6 format. It’s a challenging and interesting way to do it.”

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“6x6 #3,” by Brett Allen

Brett Allen, “6x6 #3”
“It’s acrylic paint on wood panel. It didn’t take me very long to do, which is unusual for me. I went into the studio and cranked these out. In order to speed up the process, I took older paintings that weren’t going so well, ripped them down into smaller panels, and then started painting on preexisting paintings. You might as well recycle. They’re just going to sit there, otherwise. My work tends to focus on a lot of color and simple shapes. It’s hard to catch peoples’ attention with a work of art, and it’s even harder when it’s so small. I wanted to make them bright and poppy for instantaneous visual gratification. There’s not really a theme to it—I’m just trying to please me. I generally work small, maybe not 6x6 small, but I have some experience. Small stuff sells and big stuff sits in your garage. Especially in this economy, nobody buys large paintings.”