Small creations are making big impressions at galleries and other locations around Oahu
The old expression “Good things come in small packages” certainly rings true when one thinks of miniature paintings.
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The old expression “Good things come in small packages” certainly rings true when one thinks of miniature paintings. Going small is what’s happening in art at this time of year. Miniature art is on display all around Oahu, the nation, and the world.
Painting in miniature dates back to the 1500s in India and Europe where tiny illuminations were done on manuscripts, most often religious texts. It was not until the 1700s that miniature painting became popular in America.
BEFORE CAMERAS and photographs, miniature paintings were often done of family and friends. They were kept in lockets and worn around the neck, similar to the practice today of saving photos of loved ones on our phones.
The most prestigious of all the miniature shows on Oahu is “Matchbox Plus XV,” set to open tomorrow evening at Cedar Street Galleries in Honolulu. For this show, there will be artwork as small as a matchbook cover to as large as 80 square inches or a work in 3-D as large as 516 cubic inches.
Michael Schnack, owner of Cedar Street Galleries, said the gallery will display approximately 500 art pieces from more than 150 local artists, working in all media and exhibiting their small-scale original, two- and three-dimensional artworks.
“The smallest works this year are the size of actual matchboxes. It’s always a popular show, generating lots of interest and traffic,” Schnack said.
Since 2002, The Arts at Marks Garage has been the home of the Hawaii Watercolor Society’s miniature show, at one time called “The Small Kine Show.” Now dubbed “The Little Picture Show,” it includes the works of 29 artists and 145 pieces of art, all painted with a water-based medium and the smallest of which is 3 inches squared. A beneficial feature of this show is that purchasers may take their art home with them on the day of purchase.
HO‘OMALAHUA BOTANICAL Garden Gallery has been the setting for the Association of Hawaii Artists’ miniature show since its inception in 2012. This year’s show, which includes 140 pieces from 28 artists, was juried by George Woollard, a practicing artist for more than 40 years. He selected Liliha resident Frances L. Wong’s watercolor piece, “Green Jug,” for the first-place award.
Breaking away from the traditional exhibit of mini paintings and drawings, the Louis Pohl Gallery in Chinatown this year is featuring miniature three-dimensional works in their Hana Hou-Annual Ceramics Show.
“We have small dishes and vessels for drinking, feasting, or toasting, created by artists Ken Kang, Lori Nakatsuka, Shannon Webb, Daven Hee, Yukio Ozaki, and Sanford Murata,” said gallery owner Sandra Pohl.
THIS YEAR also saw the first display of miniatures on the North Shore, with the Kahuku Public and School Library exhibiting works by local artist Claudia Wallace and others (including this writer). The display helps “reinforce the importance of both the arts and life-long learning,” said library branch manager Tamara King.
The Ko‘olauloa Kupuna Art Club is also delving into miniature art with classes and a show/sale at the Hau‘la Community Center. Several kupuna exhibited their work for the first time. A portion of the sales goes to their art program.
“We feel like real artists now that our work has been on display,” said Maydell Kahawaii of Kahuku. “We enjoyed working on miniature paintings because they are less intimidating than working on a big canvas.”
If you are looking for a special, small gift, check out these venues to see what Hawaii’s best artists have to offer, in miniature.
ART IN MINIATURE
>> “Matchbox Plus XV”: Cedar Street Galleries, 817 Cedar St. Opening reception: 5:30- 8 p.m. Friday. Gallery hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, through Jan. 5. cedarstreetgalleries.com
>> “The Little Picture Show”: The Arts at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave. Gallery hours: noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, through Nov. 30. artsatmarks.com
>> “Miniatures Show”: Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden, Kaneohe. Gallery hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, through Nov. 29. honolulu.gov/parks/hbg.html
>> “Hana Hou-Annual Ceramics Show”: Louis Pohl Galleries, 1142 Bethel St. Gallery hours: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, through Dec. 27. 521-1812
>> “Display of Miniature Art”: Kahuku Public Library, 490 Kamehameha Highway. Gallery hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Tuesday, through Dec. 31. librarieshawaii.org/branch/kahului-public-library