San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art Opens Size Matters

The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art presents Size Matters: A group exhibition that addresses ideas of scale through physical and conceptual explorations, on view Mar. 12 – Jun. 18, 2011.

Size matters insofar as it tells us something about an object’s dimensions in relationship to other things. We understand the difference between what is small versus what is big due to a comparison between them. While our understanding of size is intrinsically tied to human scale, science and technology have opened new perspectives into the cosmic and infinitesimal, dramatically altering the way we understand ourselves in relation to an expansive universe. In organizing Size Matters we selected work that speaks to the conceptual and physical reaches of size. From the monumental to the microscopic, the ten contemporary artists create work in various proportions and forms and utilize scale to challenge and shift our perception of the world around us.

Artists Gail Wight and Klari Reis enlarge the microscopic to render visible what is ordinarily invisible to the human eye. The larger than life figurative works of collaborators Ian Harvey + Koo Kyung Sook are comprised of thousands of small molecular-inspired paintings that suggest the complex building blocks of the human body while Dana Harel’s drawings of enlarged hands show hairs, pores and skin with painstaking detail. At magnified scales, these biological structures resemble one another, implying an interconnectedness of all things.

In their sculpture and photographs respectively, Terry Berlier and Elaine Ling compare our lifespan to the resilient endurance of trees that live for generations on earth. Beneath the surface of Eamon MacMahon’s aerial photographs of vast Northern landscapes and Christina Seely’s stunning images of cities, emerge a narrative of human’s cumulative impact on earth and the overwhelming scale of nature.

At some point, numbers become so big or small that they are incomprehensible and abstract. However, understanding size in relationship to our daily lives is essential in solving problems and understanding the world around us. While there are still limits to our knowledge of our universe, humans continue to ask questions and push forward. With their incredible detail and exceptionally small size, Dalton Ghetti sculptures atop pencils and Kevin Chen’s miniature hand-drawn cityscapes evoke a sense of wonder to the point of impossibility. Ultimately, the works in Size Matters reflect the infinite promise of human imagination to create, challenge and surprise.

Image: Christina Seely, Metropolis 40° 25’N 3° 41’W (Madrid), 2005-2010, Photograph, 30 inches x 40 inches, Courtesy of the Artist

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
560 South First Street San Jose, CA 95113

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