‘Does Size Matter’ changes perspectives for viewers

It’s all about perception. The way people perceive things is the key to life; it either makes people grow as individuals or pushes them further into their own world. In the most recent exhibition at Chico State, “Does Size Matter,” Catherine Sullivan, curator and head of the collection, chose prints designed to give eyes a workout. From the relaxed viewing of larger pieces to the squinting eyes of smaller pieces, it’s safe to say the collection’s got it covered.

Sullivan said the museum holds more than 3,000 pieces of fine art that span 40 countries collected by former Chico State art professor, Dr. Janet Turner. In 1980, Turner donated her collection, along with other student work she had purchased with the interest of adding to it.

“Does Size Matter” is the very first exhibition of the new school year, with five more to follow. These include “Containing Spirit; the Vessel Featuring Ceramic Art,” “Enigma: Code, Narrative Symbol,” “And the Award Goes To…,” and “Sustenance: Food/Life/Art.” “Sustenance” looks to be the most intriguing because it features a compilation of works from current Chico State students under the direction of Professor Eileen Macdonald.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 5.05.26 PM.png
The tattoo showcases prints from 11 artists invited by the gallery to create the images, 100 of which are limited edition. Photo credit: Dana Muensterman

While some of the artwork fascinated students, other pieces seemed a little too bland for the student audience that was there.

“I don’t really understand it,” said Julissa Gomez, first-year student.

The artwork Gomez was referring to was simple— five small red balls juxtaposed with two larger blue balls— but still too abstract for some students.

When asked about her favorite pieces on display, Sullivan darted to the back wall of the museum. Barely any of the wall is visible behind a giant shiny triangle, made from six smaller triangles.

“Each one of the triangle pieces is individually printed,” Sullivan said. “So the only way you can see that is to put it up as one.”

This print is the first thing noticed upon entering the museum with its metallic-looking paper printed with rusted red and faded blue lines. Alone, it is simply six triangles, but together it is a triumph.

Sullivan said that today’s audience wants to look at art that makes them think or feel. This exhibition does just that by contrasting larger art pieces with smaller ones, making one feel and perceive the artwork in a completely unique manner.

Dana Muensterman can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter