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  • July 9, 2015

October 4 – November 2, 2013
Artists reception: October 4, 6pm

Works by:
Larry Barns, Todd Bienvenu, Danielle Dimston, Paul D’Agostino, James Gillispie, Christina Kee, Ben LaRocco, Riad Miah, Fran O’Neill, Linnea Paskow, Ben Pritchard, Cecelia Rembert, Patricia Satterlee, Karen Schwartz, Whitney Wood Bailey

Linnea Paskow, Witness

“scale: the process of measuring or ordering entities with respect to quantitative attributes or traits”

Transitions occur due to circumstance – creating a monumental painting does not necessitate creating a large-scale painting, nor does an intimate painting need to be small.

For Life on Mars’ inaugural exhibition, work has been gathered from fourteen artists dealing with issues of scale – small and large works – extreme scale shifts. Some artists have been forced to make small works due to the rising cost of studios and the restrictions of storage, or simply because this particular scale just feels right for them. Some who are compelled to create large works find ways to circumnavigate their often daunting restrictions. Ultimately, whatever the circumstances that have bought each to their current scale range, these fourteen artists make work that is deeply felt.

Life on Mars’ mission (yes, it is a direct reference to the Bowie song – a song about the search for what makes us human) is to share our conviction that even in an increasingly digital age, painting still has power to transform and create meaning and value in our lives. We aim for work within this exhibit to do just that; transform your experience as you soak in the work, the attitude, the smell of the studio, the resolve, the toughness, the mess, the belief in the “hand made” that is painting.

Taking it a step further, we wish to ask the artists and the viewers, how does the “scale” of work affect your experience of your work? How does “scale” influence your most primal interaction with this combination of materials sitting on the wall?

Whitney Wood Bailey, Collective Harmonies

Fran O’Neill, 10

Does abstraction have more impact when it references the first generation of Abstract Expressionism, when it’s larger than life, or does the experience of similar improvisational process-based imagery re-contextualized on an intimate scale create a more meaningful or personal experience? Does grand gesture and sweep, the bold graphic mark of figure painting when life-sized or greater have more impact than tiny modest glimpses, fragments and squawks of the human form? Do they create an experience more relatable, more immediate?

We think all of the above is true and none of it is true. There does not need to be a definitive answer – because there is none (but we love the question!)

Messy, tight, formal, informal, slick, raw, big, little, with figure, without figure, hard edge, loose – a great, big, potentially transformative MESS.

Michael David
September 2013