S M L, James Harris Gallery, December 2013

SML: A photography, sculpture, and painting group show co-curated with Julie Alexander (one of the participating artists) about how form generates art. Artists include: Claire Cowie, Nicholas Nyland, Serrah Russell, Francis Celentano, Stranger Genius Award winner Wynne Greenwood, and Colleen Hayward.


James Harris Gallery is pleased to present “SML” featuring small, medium and large scale works by Julie Alexander, Francis Celentano, Linda Connor, Claire Cowie, Wynne Greenwood, Colleen Hayward, Jenny Heishman, Takuro Kuwata, Matthias Merkel Hess, Nicholas Nyland, Serrah Russell, Gail Tremblay, Josef Vascovitz and Bing Wright.

Co-curated by James Harris and Julie Alexander, this exhibition will include painting, sculpture and photography. Working the territory mapped by the visionary writings of Rem Koolhaas’ S, M, L, XL, and translated from architecture to art, the selected works serve as a framework and commentary on society’s compartmentalization according to scale. From clothing sizes to consumable goods, our minds are constantly confronted by the need to label each item we encounter. The spectrum from small to medium to large serves as a metaphor for this compulsory categorization. The relative and absolute measure of each piece inverts these categories.

The exhibition creates a graphic overture and within that interrogates the traditional relationship between volume and size. Large scale works may consist of small interior details while smaller works show large movements. The dimensions of each piece, both in absolute terms and in relation to the others, create a complex interplay of ideas. Francis Celentano’s “Gemini 6” is composed of geometrically small and intricate shapes, all of which contribute to the largeness of the piece. Celentano’s works explore the issues of form, color, shape and structure through abstract, geometric designs. Linda Connor’s photography explores exotic and spiritual places, capturing large spaces and translating them into tangible images. Serrah Russell’s collages deploy a warm formalism to create an expanse of relational space in a small format. The works of Claire Cowie’s contrast vast negative space and thin, intricately detailed lines. Josef Vascovitz’s objects explore the formal constructs of mark-making through his use of paint and knitted wool. Medium sized pieces evoke the human scale: Colleen Hayward’s repeated brush strokes and colors, which connect the body to earth; Nicholas Nyland’s pinched and rolled ceramics; Jenny Heishman’s reductive sculpture and Matthias Merkel Hess’ ceramic reproductions of common objects. Additional works bring their own conception of size and space to the exchange: Bing Wright’s immense and tranquil abstractions of life, Gail Tremblay’s Native-American-inspired mixed media sculpture using recycled film materials, Wynne Greenwood’s large-scaled basket with a hint of Saturday morning cartoons, Julie Alexander’s layered, discursive paintings and Takuro Kuwata’s visually elegant yet dysfunctional ceramics.

This exhibition seeks to explore the influence of categorical size in relation to the vision of each contemporary artist. The collection is a culmination of diverse mediums and influences, yet each occupies a place in the framework of small, medium and large. It is also a reminder that works of art are gifts that continually give new insights. This exhibition is a summary of the year and reflects both James Harris’ and Julie Alexander’s favorite pieces. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the close of the season.