Small Works Show

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Each year ArtLife Society takes pride in exhibiting a select showcase of work by Iowa artists and artists from across the country and around the world. Thirteen countries will be represented in this years show. The 2008 show features work by recognized and emerging artists and, according to organizers, includes art in a broader range of mediums than ever before.

Take for example local artist, Debbie Pogel. Her intricate framed mosaic tile work draws upon traditional Judaica imagery. Or consider Venezuela artist, Diego Silva, who works amazing wonders with a single piece of wire. On display will be his recent creation: a 9" motorcycle made from a single 40 foot long length of uncut wire. Turn the gallery corner and take in the always breathtaking watercolor Iowa landscapes of John Preston, a favorite of collectors.

If new and different mediums is the topic, Wendy Round, Des Moines artist, will be exhibiting her enrapturing found-objects shadowboxes for the first time.

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All work is original. All work is small. Artists continue to be challenged to work with minimal size restrictions, resulting in innovative and exciting creations.

Participating artists from previous years speak praise about how the annual exhibit is managed and benefits from the Midwest market exposure. Tom Kelly, Mineral Point, Wisconsin has exhibited in five ArtLife Society Small Works Shows. Kelly comments, "Start to finish, for an artist, this is the most professionally presented exhibition that I have dealt with dealing with galleries and organizations." Kelly's whimsical folk art paintings had been featured on Land's End catalogs covers for several years. Meri Fox-Sautzer of Bar Harbour Maine has to laugh, she says, "when I tell friends that my artwork has exhibited for several years and sold in a place I have never been!"

Local Fairfield artists, this year accounting for 33 of the 105 artists, rave about the show. When interviewed recently, Fairfield artist, Jeri Felix reflected on her annual participation since the exhibit 2002 inception.

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"The show gets better every year --both the quality of art and the exhibiting of the art. I think it is a very important show - not just for Iowa - but nationally too."

This year's international work is from Canada, India, France, Italy, Mexico, Venezuela, Australia, Germany, UK, China, Turkey and Jamaica.

Small works officianados across the country are saying the same message. The popularity of art on the small scale is reaching increasing popularity. Call it a fad. Call it the economy. For buyers, there is no getting around it: it's affordable.

Hurlin defers the conversation about sales to the gallery. "My mission," Hurlin says, as ArtLife Society Director, "is to get people in the door and to see them walk out as a very different persona visually enriched person. That's the thrill for me.

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"We live in a world where light, color, shape, sound, even our own thoughts compete mercilessly for attention. Walking into an exhibit of small works enfolds someone. You can immerse yourself, at your own pace, in each small creative piece, one at a time. The serene one-on-one visual is a reprieve from the (seemingly maddening) world."

Small is big in Fairfield, Iowa, an artist community of 10,000 residents boasting 300 visual artists, and size must matter there. Iowa Contemporary Arts (ICON), also in Fairfield, is now playing off the theme. Hurlin takes it as a high compliment that Bill Teeple, ICON Director and leader in the Fairfield arts scene, seized the common denominator the two educational arts organizations could play on: size. Teeple: "Large artwork pulls you into it. There is no escape. This is a completely different experience than that of small pieces." The ICON Large Works Show will exhibit simultaneously.

For more information email: or call (641) 472-8135.