In the Gallery
In the Palm of Your Hand: A Group Exhibition of Itty-Bitty Works of Art
Opening Reception July 22nd, 11-6
On view until September 2nd
There are many familiar places where one can find tiny things: dollhouses, dioramas, model trains, cars, and airplanes. There are also endless manifestations of smaller-than-life worlds in toys, books, and cartoons. Artists Rebecca Saady Bingham, Andrea Fábrega, Lydia Ricci, Pat Sweet, Donna Thomas, and Imin Yeh all play with scale within their work. Some utilize the 1:12 scale found most commonly in dollhouses, and others have no specific measurements in mind, only the playfulness of “small”. Kate Esme Ünver, author of The Book Of Mini: Inside the Big World of Tiny Things, coined the term “minaissance” to highlight the recent miniature renaissance. She explains, “When we talk about minis, we mean something smaller than its life-sized counterpart. A chair the size of a fig. A fig the size of a Skittle. A Skittle the size of a grain of sand.”
In the Palm of Your Hand features six artists who push the boundaries of what can be done with imagination and exquisite attention to detail, resulting in irresistible itty-bitty pieces of art. The works in this exhibition take advantage of common materials and methods used at Women’s Studio Workshop. For example, Bingham, Sweet, and Thomas demonstrate highly refined bookmaking techniques, and Fábrega accomplishes stunning detail with her wheel thrown pots–all on a micro level. Ricci and Yeh create fantastical examples of sculptures utilizing paper and scrap materials. Ricci’s patched-together micro-replicas conjure memories, often animated in her short video works, which offer up their larger stories. Inside “Dreamcabin”, Yeh has built an elaborate world rooted in time management, motherhood, and collaboration.
Opening reception will feature food by Common Table–a queer & flexible food space in Uptown Kingston run by Chef Emmet Moeller, the premiere of a mural by Kah Yangni–a Philadelphia-based artist making heartfelt art about justice, queerness, and joy, and Babes in the Woods–an open studio popup featuring work by Tatana Kellner (co-founder of Women’s Studio Workshop), Judy Hoyt, and Tona Wilson.
Featured Image: Imin Yeh
Meet The Artists
Rebecca Saady Bingham began producing miniature books in 1980. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in English, she edited and produced publications for several organizations. Her first exposure to miniature books was to the tiny, dollhouse size and her interest was mainly as a collector of small objects. It wasn’t until she saw her first “large” miniature books (in the 2”–3” range) that their potential as a design medium clicked for her and awakened a desire to create them. With no formal background in bookmaking, Rebecca learned by reading, asking experts in their various fields, and experimenting.
“I started making miniature pots trying to recapture the sense of play my adult life was lacking. Very soon into this journey, however, I was overcome by the amazing and unlimited potential of porcelain. Pushing the material to perform on a micro scale fascinates me. My goal is to distill the elements of a functioning vessel into a tiny space. I want to draw the viewer in and offer an intense personal experience. Focusing on a such a tiny object can block out for a few moments the larger world and provide a touch of whimsy.”
Lydia Ricci is a sculptor that makes imperfectly perfect replicas of quotidian moments and objects from a pile of scraps and everyday detritus accumulated over the last 30 years. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and also studied design in St Gallen, Switzerland and printmaking in Cortona, Italy. She teaches classes in design and storytelling at The University of the Arts. Her sculptures have been exhibited in galleries in New York, San Francisco, Marfa, Boston, Philadelphia, and featured in publications including The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Vice. Her animations have been included in The San Francisco, Mill Valley and Philadelphia Film Festivals.
Pat Sweet started making miniature books to fill the shelves in the library of her dollhouse. Pat had just retired from a career as a theatrical costumer, which called for many of the same skills. She went pro after seeing miniature books for sale online. They seemed to be two kinds: cheap ones to fill dollhouse bookshelves and pricey ones to collect. After making every kind of garment and designing every kind of costume imaginable, how hard could it be? Not so hard, as it turned out. Being extremely short-sighted helped. So did learning Photoshop. Pattern drafting calls for many of the same mental skills as bookbinding – imagining a single three-dimensional shape as separate two-dimensional pieces. I started with a book called “A Clutch of Corsets”. And just had fun.
Donna (Millar) Thomas
Donna (Millar) Thomas is a book artist from Santa Cruz, CA. She works both solo and collaboratively with Peter Thomas, letterpress printing, hand-lettering and illustrating texts, making paper, and hand binding both fine press and artists’ books. They were founding members of the Miniature Book Society in 1983.
Collections of their work can be found at many universities, including but not limited to Stanford, Yale, The Huntington Library, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Vermont.
“An interdisciplinary and project-based artist, I work in sculpture, installation, participatory events, and print. The projects use repetitive handcraft and mimicry as a strategy for exploring the issues around the unseen labor and production that lies behind our many unconsidered everyday objects. The near invisibleness of my laborious projects, the utter lack of utility in either function or value, the absence of color, and the small, softly placed interventions are all a provocation to think about how much time and energy is invested in things we cannot, or choose not to see.
A small object, a gesture, or a voice from the margins can reclaim a space, be a catalyst of thought, or at the very least, provide a bit of wonder and magic.”