Last Friday saw the opening of a show called 20 x 20 at the INBA museum in Juarez. The idea was to show 67 artists who made works not larger than 20 centimeters by 20 centimeters. For the metrically challenged, this amounts to less than 8 inches.
In the brochure for the show, the curator Rafael Alfonso Perez y Perez talks about the two major reasons for making paintings in small format: one is to make a small maquette prior to making a larger piece, and the the other is the smaller devotional type of icon or ex-voto.
Of course one also thinks of Persian miniatures, those magnificent small universes which are in some way more appropriate to what is shown here. These artists, many with national and international reputations create little worlds. In some cases they are smaller versions of their larger works, such as Irene Dubrovsky, from Argentina I believe, who makes ancient looking mandelas but with contemporary themes, here creates a smaller version. Others created works which seem constrained by their boders, while others like Luis Carlos Barrios or Diana Salazar create little worlds complete in themselves.
As the brochure says, a small square makes both the viewer and the artist draw closer to the work-it becomes more personal.
some of you may remember the 12 x 12 show which the former Under the Sun gallery held not that long ago, and for those of you who remember it might be interseting to compare the two. Not all of the works here succeed, but with 97 different pieces it is a wonderful show which will be for awhile. At the moment you can also see the Ismael Guardado exhibition which takes up the main room and is worth seeing in its own right.-david sokolec