Small works of art get big play at show

November 14, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The artwork may be small, but the talent that created it certainly isn't.

Some of the detail is so fine that visitors to Miniature Art 2004 are offered magnifying glasses so that they may better appreciate the skill of the artists whose work is displayed at The Council for the Arts in Chambersburg.

The 20th annual exhibition of miniatures features 219 works, none larger than 24 square inches. Sculptures may not exceed 5 inches in any dimension.

Eighty-seven artists from 27 states entered 303 pieces of art in the show. Most are for sale.

Best of Show honors went to a 4-1/2-inch-by-2-1/2-inch oil painting, "Morning Light" by Gail MacArgel of St. Peters, Mo. The intricately detailed still life shows flowers and a cut melon on a tablecloth embellished with fancy needlework.


"This piece is a typical classical miniature," council employee Jane Carlson said.

Local residents did well in the show, which is considered a nationally competitive event.

Sarah L. Phillips of Chambersburg received a merit award for her mixed media "Goodnight, Dollies." Receiving honorable mention awards were Phillip Buttermore of Chambersburg for "Adoration of the Nut in the Box," Paul Saberin of Edenville, Pa., for "Barn Raising," Cora Shifflett of Waynesboro, Pa., for "Crab Shack" and Ruth Ann Smith of Fayetteville, Pa., for "Lost?"

Twenty local artists entered the show, Carlson said.

"Miniatures allow us to have a national show," she said. "Artists can economically send their works to the council, and we can easily store those that are not accepted into the show."

The 303 entries were "spread out all over the gallery," when the judge was making her selections, Carlson said.

Judge Martha Oatway of Crofton, Md., a professional artist who is a member of the board of directors of the Maryland Federation of Art, pared the field to 219 works, which will be on display in the gallery until Jan. 8.

"Nothing tops this show for the variety you get," Carlson said.

While most of the artwork is framed oil, acrylic or watercolor paintings, there also are two bronze ballerina sculptures, a clay bust, acrylic-painted eggs and a fiber collage.

Some of the miniatures are painted on ivory piano keys, or ivorine, a synthetic replacement for ivory.

"Ivory is a good medium for small detail," Carlson said.

Award-winning fine artist Saberin said the inspiration for his abstract, "Barn Raising," was a black-and-white photograph he took at a local barn raising several years ago. The work is glued paper on board.

"It's not painted," Saberin said. "Technically, it's mixed media because I drew on the paper."

"I was very happy to get in the miniature show, and very happy to get an award," he said. "It's quite an exciting show, with the variety in the technique and subject matter."

Various depictions Saberin has done of barns were selected for the last three miniature shows. Several of his barns, both miniature and full-size, will be displayed at the council in a major show next fall, he said.

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