Victor Rodriguez

Mexican, born 1970

Anatomy, 1997

Acrylic on canvas

78 × 116 in. (198.1 × 294.6 cm)

Gift of the Friends of Modern Art 1998.6

Size Matters: Big and Small Works from the FIA Collection

September 16, 2017 - December 30, 2017

Hodge Gallery

Scale (or size) is one of the most effective ways to visually communicate an idea. While an oversized painting may envelop our field of vision, a small one requires us to look more closely. Because we often consider the size of an object relative to our own bodies, things that are very large may have a different impact than those that are very small. Size Matters: Big and Small Works from the FIA Collection gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves how scale shapes the way we experience artwork.  

The work’s relationship to the viewer is not the only thing taken into consideration when determining the size of a work of art. Artists must also grapple with the practical issues of scale. Large works require large studio and storage spaces, can be difficult to transport, and are usually more expensive to make. Small works require patience, a steady hand, and visual acuity in order to depict the illusion of space and perspective. Finding the right equipment and tools to render minute details poses potential issues for artists working in small scale. As viewers, we often take for granted the challenges and decisions the artist must make before applying paintbrush to canvas. 

This exhibition—featuring 24 artworks that date from the late 18th century to the 21st century—allows you to see works in the FIA’s collection in a new way, realizing that for an artist, whether it’s a material manifestation or ideological expression, size always matters.

From the Exhibition

  • Ray Parker, American, 1922 – 1990. Untitled, 1980. Oil on canvas, 90 × 218 inches. Museum purchase with funds donated by Mr. William S.White 2013.16

  • David Eichenberg, American, b. 1972. Aimee, 2011. Oil on panel, 7 x 6 1/4 inches. Museum purchase, 2013.3

  • Rod Penner, American, born Canada, born 1965. Day, 2010. Acrylic on panel. 6 × 6 in. (15.2 × 15.2 cm). Museum purchase 2010.282

  • Bryan LeBoeuf, American, born 1975. Father to Son, 2003. Oil on linen. 96 × 80 in. (243.8 × 203.2 cm). Gift of Mary Q. Connelly 2007.117

  • Artist Unknown. Portrait of a Young Female, n.d. Hand painted porcelain plaque. 3 3/8 × 2 5/8 in. (8.6 × 6.7 cm). Museum purchase with funds from the Jill Ford Murray Irrevocable Trust in memory of her parents, Carlotta Espy Ford and George Ross Ford, Jr., and her grandparents, Grace Miller Ford and George Ross Ford, 2017.55

  • John Clem Clarke, American, born 1937. The Banquet of the Civic Guard by Van Der Helst, 1983. Oil on canvas. Dimensions: 88 1/2 × 215 in. (224.8 × 546.1 cm). Gift of Ivan and Marilynn Karp, 2013.66