Small Masterpieces on Display at American Folk Art

Small Masterpieces on Display at AMERICAN FOLK ART

Morning Chat, Liz Sullivan, artist

Since 2008, American Folk Art & Framing (AFAF) has exhibited, in time for Valentine’s Day, small-format works by its featured artists, most of whom are self-taught in the genres of painting, sculpture and pottery. The 16th Annual Miniatures Show runs Thursday, February 6, through Thursday, February 20, with a reception Friday, February 7, from 5–7 p.m. Featuring 12 artists, the show may be previewed on AFAF’s website on Tuesday, February 4, at 11 a.m.

Works smaller than 9” x 7” make up the exhibition. “The challenge for the artists is to create a whole emotional world within the size limit,” says gallery owner Betsey-Rose Weiss. “Over the years, this show has helped develop new ways of thinking about what is possible for several of our larger-format artists. It concentrates the mind, and in a world with so much stimulation, peacefully concentrating on a small format lets the world fall away and the image emerge.”

With smaller works that generally sell for lower prices, the show encourages first-time or new collectors of art to acquire original pieces from notable artists. “For seasoned collectors, adding a small piece may be the only way they can fit a new painting into their homes,” adds Weiss.

Weaverville artist Liz Sullivan has had her acrylic-on-wood paintings on display at AFAF for more than ten years. “The Miniatures Show is actually my favorite show of the year,” she says. “It gives me the opportunity to focus in on some of those smaller aspects of my larger paintings that don’t always get to be the ‘hero’—such as a bird, an owl, a flower, sometimes even a rickety old chair. I really enjoy allowing those little details to shine in a smaller package.”

A favorite subject for her, in paintings large and small, is crows. “Often, all it takes is a strategically placed crow to make a painting complete—in my mind at least,” she says. “With the Miniatures Show, the crows get to be the main event, rather than a small added detail or finishing touch.”

Coming up with new and fresh ideas is the most challenging aspect of working small, says Sullivan. She has painted and drawn for most of her life, settling into a routine of producing work to sell in 1989. A well-known folk artist, she has cultivated followers of her work and collectors of her paintings all over the country and beyond.

“Often these small works, created during the lengthening evenings of winter, evoke an intimacy that summer’s energy doesn’t,” Weiss says.

American Folk Art & Framing is located at 64 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 828.281.2134.

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