@ the Riverside Art Museum

July 1 – September 17, 2010

In past years, RAM has held a yearly exhibit to show off the artwork of RAM’s talented artist-members and to provide a space for members to sell and exhibit their work. This year marks a first for RAM as we invite members to present work small in stature but big in spirit.

It’s a cliché of contemporary society to emphasize the ‘bigger is better’ approach. This is especially true in Southern California where we have a reputation for creations on a monumental scale. For many years in Southern California, particularly starting in the late 70s, a building boom accentuated this trend to sprawl outwards. This phenomenon was not just contained within construction, but had consequences across our society. This is the era that saw the birth of the supersize fast food meal. Even our artwork was marked by this trend. As new mega-institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles were built, a new kind of mega-art was needed to fill the space. Giant works that dwarf visitors became the norm. Abstraction became refined, simpler, brighter, utilizing new pigments and chemicals.

In the face of recession, Americans are now re-thinking our lives, our spaces, and our impact. There is a return to a more modest approach. Cars like the new Smart FourTwo stand in contrast to the SUVs of yesteryear. Building has drastically cut back. Across the board, budgeting and expenses have markedly fallen and we are asked to do more with less. And artists, as always, are flexibly approaching these challenges and using them as creative sparks to inspire new works. In opposition to large artwork that more easily allows a “drive-by” or “walk-by” engagement, mini artwork sets aside in-your-face intensity for a more subtle message. Rather, the exhibition favors intimacy and vulnerability, encouraging and rewarding exploration and a close, personal engagement with each individual work of art.