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Big things come from miniature artwork

Group exhibition at Sparks Gallery has art that is unique and miniature and the price tags are wallet friendly too.

(Maze) Tincture VIII by Peter J. Geise is part of the Sparks Gallery Minis exhibition. (Courtesy photo)

Have a love for art but think you can’t afford it? Fascinated by all things tiny? Then this is the place to check out.

A group exhibition at Sparks Gallery in downtown, titled Minis, not only has art that is unique and miniature (with every piece sized at 10-inches by 10-inches or smaller), but the price tags are wallet friendly too (at $200 or less). The exhibition is a playful version of a longtime human obsession: Things that are micro-versions of something bigger. From miniature dollhouses and train sets to tiny books, tiny homes, microchip technology, and the shadow boxes made in grade school as children — people are drawn to small objects.

The Sparks Gallery collection encompasses a large array of artistic styles from 40 different artists around Southern California. Artist Paul Hobson, who is part of the exhibition, describes painting in miniature as a divergence from the more complicated planning and structure of larger works, “Painting in such a small scale is a counterbalance to my public artworks that are major infrastructure projects.”

Another artist, Peter J. Guise, harkens back to childhood memories, “(Maze) Tincture VIII refers back to mazes I would create as a fifth and sixth grader,” while incorporating artistic techniques of the “primitive architectural” and “biomorphic embellishment.”

Memory of the Sea by Minghua Nie is part of Sparks Gallery’s Minis exhibition. (Courtesy photo)

Memory of the Sea is a serene piece that invites the viewer directly into the image to look at the horizon. Artist Minghua Nie stated, “My camera is not merely a light box for recording an image, it is a paintbrush. It is also a starting point, as the creative process only starts from the moment a photo is captured. The image and I continue to co-evolve until eventually, a definitive intersection on the emotional landscape emerges.” Speaking directly to Memory of the Sea, she described it as “an attempt for materialize the feeling of searching deep into one’s memory while peeking into a familiar subject.”

Inner Portal – Healing Anxieties is an intricate and engaging piece that brings the miniature concept to life. Artist Marisa Quinn stated, “My work illustrates endangered species along the California coast with the intention of reconnecting people to both Nature and their True Self.” For Inner Portal she selected the humpback whale, which is “well known for its gentle spirit and has recently been discovered as a peacemaker between killer whales and grey whales.”

Inner Portal – Healing Anxieties by Marisa Quinn is part of the Sparks Gallery Minis exhibition. (Courtesy photo)

She continued, “While the humpback whale is my adopted symbol of peace and hope, here it carries a broken barn surrounded by barnacles- both of which are my visualizations of my tendencies toward anxiety. However, in this piece honeybees, who have survived countless threats including colony collapse, are constructing their comb around the barnacles and are guiding the humpback whale. They continue to be the small magical healers of the Earth. This piece is full of hope both personally and for the wellbeing of our planet. It is a portal into the language of the soul.”

These and other compelling works by artists Gloria Muriel, Christopher Polentz, Khalid Alkaaby, Alexander Arshanksky, Victor Angelo, Stefanie Bales, Laura Ball, Jon Barnes, Michelle Ferrera, Carmem Gusmao, Hill & Stump, Elena Karavodin, Roy Kerckhoffs, Sherry Krulle-Beaton, Monty Montgomery, Mayra Navarro, Jo Palasi, Judy Salinsky, Lee Sie, Marna Schindler, Jeremy Sicile-Kira, Lenore Simon, Robby Ticknor, Anna Van Fleet, and Eric Wixon are on display.

Minis runs through Sept. 24. The gallery is open noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Private appointments are available by calling 619.696.1416. For more information, visit

Chart 19 by Paul Hobson is part of the Sparks Gallery Minis exhibition. (Courtesy photo)

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