4×4: Miniature Masterpieces exhibition in Johnson City, TN

I’ve been asked to participate in the Johnson City Art’s Councils ninth annual “4×4” art exhibition by one of the people involved with the show. As I generally create tiny work, a piece that is 4 inches by 4 inches isn’t too restrictive and when I agreed, I actually thought I’d simply find a work that I already have and re-compose/crop it down by an inch or so. Despite this idealistic assumption, I ended up not wanting to crop anything I had, even by 1/2 and inch. In then end, I created a new work specifically for the show.

Even though my exhibition looms in less than a week and a half and I still have more to do than I can possible comprehend sometimes, it felt good to create a work just for the heck of if with no “will this fit into my show?” doubts. I have had to temporarily abandon some works in order to focus on the upcoming exhibition and I think in some ways this has made my studio practice feel a bit daunting as of late.

To sit for a few hours and paint the work for the 4×4 show was a welcome and rather cathartic release from the regimented check-list oriented schedule I am following these days. This opportunity has provided a great deal more than another by-line in my cv; I will miss this community a lot when I move for work and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the local arts chapter by donating this piece to raise funding for their community programing.

I feel like this composition evolved out of a recent renewal in interest into the lasting ramifications of the gulf oil spill. Unlike most of my work, it was created from a photograph rather than life. (The photo was taken by a recent professor who has retired in the gulf this past year.) Strangely fitting with my exhibition, this little work continues the concept of “Eulogy” in that it largely reflects on the losses the gulf and bayou has been facing over the past several years, of which my family is closely tied, and also of the travesty of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill more recently. It’s the first time I’ve allowed myself to make a work which directly references these things, despite many thoughts and desires to do so.

I’m looking forward to my thesis exhibition, but I’m also looking forward to beginning the next step of exploration into the ideas and concepts I’ve recently only started to address in my work.


  1. Strange I don’t remember seeing this piece at the show. But there were so many and I was a bit distracted because there were so many people. (In other words, there was so much NOISE.) I really like it, especially because it’s so small.

    1. My piece never made it up, unfortunately. It was strongly desired by a patron and long time supporter of the Arts Council who wasn’t able to be at the actual event where the works were exchanged (I bet you’ll guess who). Arrangements were made to take the piece on opening night. I was a little sad that it wasn’t on view at all but also relieved that someone who wanted it so badly was able to take it home. All’s well that ends well. 🙂

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