Small can be quite big.
Case in point: Davis Dominguez Gallery's "Small Works Invitational" show, at the gallery through the end of June.
This exhibit is big in so many ways:
• Big names. The artists include Gail Marcus-Orlen, Jim Waid, Bruce McGrew, Tom Philabaum - the list goes on.
• Big numbers. There are about 80 pieces in the show.
• Big ideas. The artists would not be constrained by the size criteria - a maximum size of 12- by 12-inches for paintings, and 18-inches for sculptures. The works take us to Sabino Canyon, Italy, the ocean, the skies. Some make us laugh, others think, and still others just wonder.
Michael Dominguez says the gallery launched the "Small Works" show 21 years ago.
He started with about 21 pieces. It grew over several years, but he's reached his max with 80 - any more would overwhelm the viewer, he says.
"Each of these small works represents a personality," he says as he meanders through the bright gallery.
He is standing beside a Jim Cook painting of Sabino Canyon. Next to that is a scene from Italy by Thomas Chapin. Not far from that is Joanne Kerrihard's "Flower Market," an abstract bursting with color.
"It's like a visual odyssey," he says.
It's also a chance to snag a piece of original artwork by an accomplished artist for an accessible price - pieces in the show are as low as $120 and top out at $4,000. "But most are $350 to $375," says Dominguez.
Some of the must-look-closer pieces in this show include:
Katja Fritzsche's "Gift," a reverse painting on glass with a glass bird perched on the elaborate - and cast glass - frame has an almost 3-D effect. Fritzsche's piece is the priciest in the show at $4,000.
Claire Campbell Park's "Yellow" changes colors and emphasis depending on the angle from which it's viewed. Park, a weaver, painted paper, cut it into narrow strips and wove them. Her process is almost as compelling as her piece, which is priced at $425.
Barbara Jo McLaughlin's "Unfurl" is a plywood sculpture that curls and twists. McLaughlin's carving and staining of three pieces of the wood bonded at the base have given it a depth and intrigue. You can have that piece for $1,200.
Lithographer Andy Polk's "Coverup" features a bespectacled man about to pull a sweater over his head. His line work is mesmerizing, the print compelling. And then there is this: The background is crowded with hieroglyphs. Those, says Dominguez, are English words written in an alphabet that Polk made up. And that he's not willing to share with anyone. The litho is priced at $380.
There's more: Albert Kogels' wood sculpture of a dog, "Chapo" ($750), which has a Picasso-esque feel to it; Paula Wittner's pensive portrait, "A Critical Thinker" ($800); Matthias Duwel's abstract "Last Exit: Babylon," a complex acrylic painting that demands a long study.
The show can be seen in one viewing but can be appreciated more fully with a few visits to the gallery. Which, by the way, is air conditioned.
If you go
• What: "Small Works Invitational."
• Where: Davis Dominguez Gallery, 154 E. Sixth St.
• When: Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. The show continues through June 29.
• Artists reception: 6-8 p.m. Saturday.
• Cost: Admission is free.
• Information: 629-9759 or davisdominguez.com
Port o' call
The reception for Davis Dominguez's Small Works show from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday is part of a series of gallery openings that night for the Central Tucson Gallery Association's Summer Art Cruise. Go to ctgatucson.org for a full listing of participating galleries.
Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at email@example.com or 573-4128.