John Small 2018

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2016 Art of the Northeast Best in Show Award - Solo Exhibit

John Small

Structures of Nature February 11 - March 11, 2018


STRUCTURES OF NATURE When describing our physical environment, most scientist agree that the world has, for the last 10,000 years, been in the dawn of the Anthropocene era. This means, that rather than meteors, ice ages or dinosaurs, the defining characteristic of this time is the human being. Our impact on the earth increases at an exponential rate but it’s a legacy that stretches back thousands of years. I’m sure that the first astronauts were surprised to be able to view the Great Wall of China from space but our ability to physically impact the world around us is now taken as commonplace. As long as we have been capable of manipulating technology we have strained to use it to control our immediate environment. While it is easiest (and most fun) to think about the drastic examples of this - scars left in stone from past civilizations like the early Cave Paintings or the Great Pyramids of Egypt, human impact is far more complex, and often more subtle. The artwork of John Small serves as an exploration into the everyday ways that human life effects the environment. A trained field ornithologist and naturalist, Small applies the rich history of natural science as a lense in which to investigate contemporary domestic life. By applying a scientific context to the everyday, he invites us to break down the barrier that exists in our minds between the manmade and the natural world. Rather than waxing poetically on the wonders of natural ecosystem - which he could at length- the artist investigates the mundane spaces of suburban life and how they control and succumb to the rhythms of the natural world. The artist reminds us that a coyote or an alligator wandering into your family’s cul de sac is not a freak accident but the inevitable consequence of nature reasserting itself. For Small, the bird is a particularly impactful metaphor. An avid amateur ornithologist- he would remind us that their habits are responsible for much of the natural world that we take for granted. Rather than fixtures of our backyard morning coffee, we are reminded that they belong to a different world, with different rules. The works on display reimagines our daily interactions with the 2 x 4, reasserting its material presence as a function of the natural world rather than as solely a resource to be used in the construction of our built environment. The ongoing series small 10” x 8” paintings explore this archetype. In the center of the gallery space, a familiar backyard fence blocks the viewer from fully experiencing Small’s latest installation, which recalls a mishmash of the suburban garden space and the wilderness. Both are something that the artist is intimately familiar with being raised in suburban Manitoba Canada. Repositioning the picket fence of our childhoods as a barrier invites us to question the human need to contain land and questions what it means to put up a fence. Are we keeping things in or out, what does this do to the world around us and why do we need to build them? Howard Hurst, Hyperallergic contributor


Partial Removal Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Composition with 2x4's and Sky #1 Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


8x10 Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Campsite #1 Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Core Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Green and Blue Summer Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Green and White Winter Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Rainfall 2x4's Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Composition with 2x4's and Sky #2 Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Teepee Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Tree Top #1 Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Tree Top #2 Mixed Media, 11” x 8”, $850


Silvermine Silvermine Arts Center

1037 Silvermine Road New Canaan, CT 06840

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