|DODGE gallery is pleased to present The Age of Small Things, curated by Chuck Webster. The exhibition includes 53 works culled from studios, galleries, and homes near and far. The exhibition has been in the making for months beginning with a lengthy wish-list and pursued through traditional and unexpected avenues (including Webster's dentist). Webster’s process of search and discovery mirrors his delight for things small- what might have been missed.
From 1967–69, I painted like mad. The pictures came so fast I had to make memos to myself, at a table drinking coffee. I felt like a movie director. Like opening a Pandora's box, and all these images came out.
-Philip Guston, in “A Life Lived” a film by Michael Blackwood
A small thing exists in an intimate and hand-placed space. It can be held, cradled, taped to a wall, nestled in a pocket, slipped between pages, tucked into a drawer.
It can be meticulously created over an extended period of time, mark by mark, line by line, stitch by stitch. Or it can be quickly expressed filling the space between thoughts. It can exist as the thing itself or be connected to a larger plan.
For some artists, small work is a natural part of their practice. For others, their process is represented through notes and doodles. And still for other artists, small objects offer a window into their personhood; the things they make when they are not making art.
A telephone doodle can serve as the basis for entire bodies of work. Scraps of paper can be carried around, tucked away and used years later. These things sit and remind us of a momentary thought that we may not understand for a long time. They can become the catalyst for new ways of thinking.
Charles Burchfield developed the language for his abstractions while on the phone making lists of groceries. Philip Guston sat at his kitchen table and made notes of pictures flying around in his head. He records his ideas for a new school in New York on the first thing he can get his hands on. Ideas can take many forms. Often they come in very small, sometimes cursory packages.
The works in the exhibition seek to connect the labor-intensive devotion of Joseph Cornell, James Siena and the folk-art artisan with the seemingly offhand generosity of Michael Williams, Richard Tuttle and Brian Belott. Similarly, Bill Jensen, Suzan Frecon and John Lees' alchemy of materials and touch cohere with the handmade diagrammatic notations of Charles Burchfield, James Siena and Dan Walsh.
The title, The Age of Small Things, refers to the fact that a small object, drawing or painting has large possibilities. It can be around for a long time, and possess knowledge greater than its size. Like a haiku or 45-second Guided by Voices song, it can take you in for a moment, which is sometimes all you need.
Chuck Webster is an artist based in New York, NY. He received his BA from Oberlin College and his MFA from American University. He has been a visiting artist, critic and lecturer at many institutions including Parsons School of Design, Vermont Studio Center, Anderson Ranch, RISD, Brandeis University, Oberlin College, Sarah Lawrence College and Washington University in St. Louis.
In collaboration with: 303 Gallery, CANADA, Cheim & Read, James Cohan Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery, Betty Cuningham Gallery, Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, The Grenfell Press, Jason McCoy Gallery, Matthew Marks Gallery, DC Moore Gallery, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Francis Naumann Fine Art, Peggy McClard Americana & Folk Art, Werner H. Kramarsky Collection, Michael Werner Gallery, Sperone Westwater, White Cube, ZieherSmith, Zurcher Studio.