Does big always mean more? Apparently not, at least in the field of visual arts, and Delhi-based art gallery Gallerie Ganesha is celebrating the appeal of the small format through a group show titled ‘Cut To Size’. Ranging from a diminutive 3.5 x 5 inches mixed media work by Laxma Goud to Paresh Maity’s oil on canvas in 20 x 16 inches, the show is indeed a treasure house of little gems.
Executed in varied mediums like watercolour, oil, acrylic, collage, etching and mixed media, the show includes works by artists like A Ramachandran, Alok Uniyal, Ashok Hazra, Avijit Dutta, Chotu Lal, Devdatta Padekar, Dushyant Patel, Jayasri Burman, K S Kulkarni, Laxma Goud, Maite Deltiel, Maya Burman, Nayanaa Kanodia, Neelkant Choudhary, Neeraj Goswami, Paresh Maity, Roohan Segel, Satish Gujral and Sakti Burman.
Shobha Bhatia, Director of Gallerie Ganesha says, “Artists are constantly trying to innovate and challenge the ground rules. Cut to Size is an endeavour to experiment with small format works that are in a sense part of our ancient tradition, as seen in the Mughal, Rajput and Pahari schools, and bring it centre-stage with a new contemporary twist.”
Many of the artists in the show are mostly known for their large-scale works, which gives them freedom of space, and they admit that creating small format work is indeed a challenge. Neelkant Choudhary says, “It is always a challenge to try and work on a ‘miniature’ format as effectively, without losing out on the finer nuances of art. A smaller format requires more focus and an effectively worked on miniature/small format painting can be like a little gem with all its facets intact.”
There is another reason why artists are attracted to the small format. “Smaller format works are the need of the hour,” argues Alok Uniyal, whose work has always been inspired by Indian miniature art.
“In today’s world, where everything is becoming small – homes, relationships, recall value – small format works, doesn’t it?”, he says. Uniyal, on a more serious note, shares that he was exposed to the charm of small format works during his academic years and finds no difficulty in imparting his signature style of elongated eyes, bold strokes and a vivid colour palette to his small format works even now.
“However, working in small format is always a risk, and a challenge,” he says, his smallest work being a 6 by 8 inches canvas.
Devdatta Padekar agrees, “One needs a lot of discipline and focus to create a work in the small format. I make smaller works as a regular practice and the intensity, the detailing and the expression in each is as vivid as it would be in a large work.”
Dushyant Patel, who recalls his smallest work being a 4 x 7 inches one, imparts yet another reason to why viewers are attracted to the small format. “Smaller works are more affordable. If the image one creates suits that particular size anyone would want to have such a work on their walls.”
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts to unboxedwrites.com)