Something Big, Something Small

October 31 - December 30, 2023

Bridgette Mayer Gallery Presents: Something Big, Something Small
October 31 – December 30, 2023
Artist Panel: Friday, November 3rd, 4 – 5:30 pm
Artist Reception & Happy Hour: Friday, November 3rd, 5:00 – 7:30 pm

Philadelphia, PA – September 15, 2023. Bridgette Mayer Gallery is excited to present Something Big, Something Small, a new group exhibition featuring 10 contemporary artists. Something Big, Something Small will be on view from Tuesday, October 31 to Saturday, December 30, 2023. There will be a special panel with the artists of Something Big, Something Small on Friday, November 3rd from 4 to 5:30pm at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Rhoden Auditorium. Immediately following from 5:30 to 7:30pm, there will be an opening reception and happy hour at Bridgette Mayer Gallery.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of scale with artwork?

Gallery Director Bridgette Mayer shares, “I will never forget standing in front of Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Accademia Gallery of Florence in 1995. This seventeen-foot-tall masterpiece, made out of marble, was created by the Italian Renaissance master between 1501-1504. It was the first time I experienced feeling small – very small – in front of a work of art. As I continued to have this experience in Italy and also within many architectural structures in the US and beyond, I became interested in how artists use scale to affect how the viewer may feel standing in front of their art. I have also had the opposite feeling of feeling large and expansive (whether physically, emotionally, or even intellectually) while viewing contemporary art. This exhibition explores scale in its various forms.”

In art, the principle of scale refers to the relative size of one object compared to another. Usually this is the size of the artwork compared to the viewer’s body. Scale can also refer to the different size relationships of different visuals within a singular piece of art.

For the exhibition Something Big, Something Small , 10 contemporary artists (five represented artists from the gallery program, and five invited artists) were asked to consider scale and shifting scale in their work and create or illustrate the concept of a shift in scale – whether large or small, conceptual, literal or ambiguous and create works around this concept.

For Damian Stamer’s works, we have a shift in scale around the physical presence of a place. In his smaller painting titled New Sharon Church Rd. 17, we feel as though we are viewing a small and aged polaroid photograph of a vintage barn or place from long ago. His larger and lushly layered painting New Sharon Church Rd. 38 puts us in this space physically through the mural-like scale of this painting and we are literally in this scene.

In Arden Bendler Browning’s work, the artist captures a shift in scale between two works. Her smaller painting, Walking 24 is a zoomed-in detail, putting a moment under a microscope during a walk through the woods. Her larger tondo ‘zooms out’ into a more expansive painting, showing the depth and multi-layered details of her abstracted, VR-informed landscapes.

Tim McFarlane creates a shift in scale from the device of a constructed mirror image. His two paintings – which are similar in composition but different in size – call our attention to examine how two of the same works can feel so different because of scale.

On her works in the exhibition, Eileen Neff shares, “These works appeared in Three or Four Clouds, my 2012 exhibition at Bridgette Mayer Gallery, presented in this narrowed space as mirrored images of themselves, identical in every way but for their horizontally flipped orientation, which offered the viewer a sense of walking through the clouds. Here the two works nod to the original iteration while announcing their contemporary difference, placed on the same wall and driven by the size shift of one of the two parts. Blue 2 is presented as it first appeared; Blue 1, now presented at 8 x 12 inches, is close to 1/6 of the original and joins the other works in the gallery as it contributes to the conversation on the power and pleasures of attending to scale.”

Michele Kishita’s work considers a person’s physical and perceptual relationship to the landscape. In Summer Reflections, Garden Pond, the painting’s subject represents a small sample from a larger landscape space, holding the viewer’s gaze to a small area of a pond’s reflective surface. In Tempestuous Spring, Mountain with Peach Blossoms, the viewer is presented with a more panoramic view of the landscape, a much larger sample from an even larger space.

Erin McIntosh takes a different approach, creating her shift in scale through mark making. She moves from large and expansive to a miniature feeling in her work and finds that the shifting of scale allows for both quicker intuitions and slower, more methodical working and a conversation to develop between different painting media on different surfaces.

Taking up the large back wall of the gallery is Antonio Puri’s installation. In this hypnotic piece, each small panel represents part of the whole. Pulling out one part gives us a detail on the micro-level of the entirety of the whole, making references to the interconnectedness of darkness and light, string theory, and the energy of the universe.

Rebecca Rutstein creates a shift in scale using the composition and constructed space within her paintings. As an artist exploring the intersection of art and science, her paintings explore the fractal geometry of nature, where similar patterns can be found at differing scales and in the many different networks of our universe.

Representing the macro-level, Ellen Soffer’s large painting consumes our vision through her gestural large marks, intensifying the viewing experience. Her smaller work, in contrast, methodically lays out her process in a bite-sized image.

In the Vault, Erika b Hess approaches our theme in a more psychologically driven and conceptual way. Her work confronts the positive and negative emotions of experiencing a significant life change, and the ways in which these emotions make us feel both very big and very small.

Exhibition information: Something Big, Something Small will be on view from Tuesday, October 31 to Saturday, December 30, 2023 at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. On Friday, November 3rd, Bridgette Mayer Gallery will host an artist panel Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts' Rhoden Auditorium, 128 N. Broad Street, Historic Landmark Building, 1st floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. Immediately following, there will be an exhibition opening & reception at Bridgette Mayer Gallery until 7:30 pm.

Gallery information: Bridgette Mayer Gallery is free and open to the public. We are located at 709 Walnut Street, 1st Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 5:00pm.

For further information, please contact Julia Carita at:


Bridgette Mayer Gallery   709 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106   tel 215 413 8893   fax 215 413 2283   Site by exhibit-E™