Gallery celebrates tiny, detailed art

In the art world, "bigger is better" is often the mantra.

Davis & Cline Gallery in Ashland is turning that upside down by celebrating small paintings and sculptures in its "Smalls" exhibit.

The main gallery space has a bright and colorful exhibit of large wall art and glass sculptures, but tucked away in a darkened side room is the show of small pieces.

Just as a person's eyes take a few moments to adjust to the dimness, it takes time to re-calibrate to the scale of these tiny, exquisitely detailed pieces that glow under gallery lights.

Ashland artist Laurel Bustamante has crafted mysterious, exotic paintings that recall Persian miniatures.

Her painting "#202 Untitled" depicts a 1-inch-tall goat walking in a teal and black landscape. Dotting the scene are miniscule, otherworldly plants that appear to have been done with a paintbrush with a single hair.

A crescent moon-like shape hangs by a gold chain from the sky.

The exhibit has four of Bustamante's pieces, but it's worth visiting the gallery's website at www.davisandcline.com to see more of her paintings, including those that couldn't be shown because they sold before the exhibit could even be mounted.

Local artist Jhenna Quinn Lewis also has paintings in the show.

A painting of a colorful bird perched on a single luscious, deep red cherry rivals Bustamante's work with its attention to intricate details.

Lewis' "The Jewell with Wallpaper" features a green beetle pinned to flowery wallpaper. Each segmented piece of the beetle's six legs is minutely depicted.

Former Southern Oregon University art student Joshua Stringer is displaying cerebral pieces that combine cut-out paper, stitched thread, photos and pieces of plants.

Ashland artist Matthew Picton has salvaged layers of old, peeling paint off of a saw mill, railroad car and oil tank, then affixed the flakes to panels to create abstract works.

Portland artist Ronna Neuenschwander has taken sentimental, saccharin-sweet ceramic figurines of women in elaborate dresses, shattered them, then reassembled the pieces — mixing and matching parts from different figurines to make subtle statements about colonialism, racism, the depiction of women and other charged topics.

Other artists in the show include Claire Burbridge, Mary Ijichi and Margaret Realica.

The "Smalls" exhibit will run at least through June and may carry over into July, according to gallery co-owner John Davis.

The gallery, at the corner of Fourth and A streets in the Historic Railroad District, will be open into the evening hours for Ashland's First Friday Art Walk tonight.

Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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