‘For the SMALL of It’ features work of Randy Au

“For the SMALL of It” features nearly 100 finely crafted, original works of art by 15 local, regional and nationally recognized artists.

This wide-ranging exhibition continues through Jan. 17, 2009, highlighting works in varying media that will encourage us to slow down and contemplate the small things.

Artists were invited to submit works small to them, relative to their normal workings, for inclusion in “For the SMALL of It.” These works were to represent or embody the characteristics of their larger work, only in a scaled down version.

The highly diverse selection of artworks on display includes sculptural and functional ceramics, paintings, limited edition woodcuts and etchings, monoprints, and photography.

Featured artists are: Randy Au, California; Michael D. Barnes, Illinois; Debra Blair, New Mexico; Marti Bledsoe, Texas; Denise Coffee, Colorado; D. Michael Coffee, Colorado; Sarah Comerford, Colorado; Ron Fundingsland, Colorado; Jean Gumpper, Colorado; Karl Isberg, Colorado; Shaun Martin, Colorado; Al Olson, Colorado; Brad Schwieger, Ohio; Christopher St. John, New Mexico; and Jill Sykes, California.

Many of the artists featured in “For the SMALL of It” embraced the challenge of creating new work specifically for the exhibition that was personal to them and their working process. This work became more intimate, belonging to and characterized by their deepest nature.

Several of these artists found sanctuary in the creative process involved in working smaller, and expressed that they gained an added sense of clarity.

Unique ceramic salt and pepper sets by acclaimed California artist, Randy Au, demonstrate that smaller works can just as powerful as larger-scale creations. Au’s celebrated “Vegetable Series” are sometimes captured true to scale, as with the garlic shaped saltshaker, but are in most instances scaled-down versions of larger vegetables, such as gourds.

“This series of work is the result of my fascination with the whimsical qualities of natural forms, in this case vegetable. I am not interested in re-creating merely the exact likeness of the vegetables, but rather in appropriating their unique shapes and qualities as a springboard for creating visually unique functional art objects,” Au states.

“The particular vegetables used in the series were found by haunting the local grocery stores, wholesale markets (in Los Angeles) and various gardens, patches, and fields. Each shape was chosen for its unique whimsical quality and presence.

“Original molds were made from the actual vegetables,” Au continues. “The resulting forms, along with thrown and hand built elements, are use to produce the individual pieces. The free flowing, hand painted decoration in vibrant colored glazes and metallic gold luster, is reminiscent of Oriental, Egyptian, and Southwestern patterns and designs.”

Au’s “Vegetable Series” was awarded a Gold Medal in the “Discovery Award 1993” for Craft in California. It has also been part of the invitational exhibition at the prestigious “Dinner Works” show, Louisville Kentucky Visual Arts Association; seen at the “New Artist Tea Party” show, Ferrin Gallery in Northampton, Mass.; “Pacific Craft Show”, Orange County Museum of Art and featured on the “Modern Master” series of the Carol Duvall Show for HGTV.

Born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands, artist Randy Au came to Southern California for the good weather and to pursue a fine art career. Studies include Biola University, U.C. Irvine, and California State Fullerton, where Au earned a B.A. in fine art.

Au has maintained a studio since 1987, and has been a full-time practicing studio artist since 1992. He is presently the ceramics instructor and assistant director of the Visual Arts Conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, Calif.

“I feel that the challenge of the Artist is to take the common and mundane and thru creative vision and process, breathe new life into them,” Au concludes. “I hope that exposure to this work prompts a more sensitive look at the world around us. Such things as vegetables are not just food, but food for thought, use, and enjoyment.”

SHY RABBIT regular gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. This show is free and open to the public.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts is located at 333 Bastille Drive, two blocks north of U.S. 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard.  The 4,000 square foot arts facility houses a ceramic studio and fine art gallery, two mixed-media workshops, and two large exhibition spaces.

For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766.

For more information on “For the SMALL of It.” visit www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.

Photo courtesy SHY RABBIT
“For the SMALL of It” continues at SHY RABBIT through Jan. 17, featuring works by 15 select local, regional and national artists who encourage us to slow down and contemplate the small things. This exhibit includes a “Vegetable Series” salt and pepper set by California artist Randy Au, measuring 2 3/4x5x3 3/4.