Big opening for Small Works exhibit

Opening to gallery.
Opening to gallery. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock

A large crowd of eventgoers waited outside of the gallery on Jan. 12 to experience the newest artistic works brought in by BYU-Idaho’s faculty.

As the doors opened at 7 p.m., students, families, friend groups and couples poured into the expansive, two-story gallery to appreciate the works on display. Small, dainty paintings and sculptures were lined against large walls that contrasted with the arts’ sizes.

Riswold statue displayed.
Riswold statue displayed. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock
Eventgoers examine small works.
Eventgoers examine small works. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock
People inspect art while others wait for food.
People inspect art while others wait for food. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock
Eventgoers look at art on both floors.
Eventgoers look at art on both floors. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock

A plaque displayed in the gallery had the purpose of the theme, Small Works, etched into it.

It read, “Rembrandt. Picasso. Chagall. LeConte Stewart. Together, these artists’ careers span over five-hundred years. Today, in the gallery, they share a common trait: They are small and don’t get out much. Some are small for convenience, and others by necessity. Some are plain, and some are detailed. No matter their disparities, they all have something to say. We hope that you enjoy the many voices shared by the artists of these Small Works. And, bring a magnifying glass…just in case.”

But why dedicate a gallery to smaller pieces?

Kyoung Dabell, the gallery’s curator, said this theme has been on her mind for years.

“There is a workroom for our staff to hang out in and work on projects,” Dabell said. “We normally have small pieces displayed in that room for our own eyes … but we always loved how some of them are so dainty and detailed. Those were always so fascinating to us and I had the idea ‘what if we had a whole bunch more together in a big room and show (them) off?'”

Dabell said she wanted the first piece in the gallery to be the smallest work on display.

On the first wall of the room sits Mahonri Young’s watercolor painting, Landscape with Mountain. Dabell said the piece is an inch wide and two inches long.

1 in by 2 in on the large wall.
The smallest work in the gallery sits as the first piece shown. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock
1 in by 2 in watercolor
1 in by 2 in watercolor Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock

“Please don’t be fooled by the size,” Dabell said. “We got masters starting from Rembrandt. We have a couple of pieces of Pablo Picasso and some other little surprises like President Henry B. Eyring’s watercolors. Even if they’re small, there is something to look at.”

Close up of untitled and unknown painting.
Close-up of untitled and unknown painting. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock
Small Picasso painting.
Small Picasso painting. Photo credit: Abbygail Hadlock

Groups snapped pictures and closely observed the details of the art.

Amanda Wheeler, an illustration major and eventgoer, said that people should try to take time to observe art, to understand the beauty of creation. She said that everyone, no matter their major, could potentially benefit from the exhibit.

The exhibition officially opens on Jan. 13 and closes on Feb. 15. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

“I hope people come, and now that we finished up with our Christmas holidays and New Year’s eve parties, it kind of becomes long winter days,” Dabell said. “I think this will be a perfect place for families, dates, youth groups to come out and see masters mingled with contemporary … artists as well as worldwide, well-known artists.”

To schedule a private tour of 15 people or more, visit the gallery’s website.