Tiny paintings make a big statement in Oxford
● By J. Chambless
Kelly Micca packs more than 40 tiny paintings into the small entryway exhibition space at the Oxford Arts Alliance this month, proving that an artist doesn’t need a lot of space to make a forceful impact.
Micca, 21, who lives and works in Philadelphia, painted in the Nottingham area after receiving the Lois and Charles X. Carlson Landscape Residency from the Arts Alliance. Beginning with “Nottingham Landscape,” she shows an already mature grasp of light and composition. The beautifully rendered sky is as much a focus as the farm buildings and silos below.
She turns her attention to fellow plein air artists at work in “Valley Forge Painters,” and gets full depth and a tactile quality out of her green-on-green “Algae Pond.”
Her array of tiny (as in, maybe 2 inches wide) oils of Italy add up to a striking sense of place. By focusing on one object – a fountain, a pillar – or even packing in an entire valley, she gets to the essence of each scene.
The dramatic lighting in the nighttime views “Sietes Park, Madrid” and “Blood Moon, Rome” are supremely well done, and her “Cloud Study” – a tiny view of fluffy clouds and just-right blue sky – is like looking out a window on a summer day.
Even un-lovely subject matter – the tail of a plane seen from an airport lounge, the red-striped overhang of a gas station against majestic mountains – grabs your interest. Speaking of un-lovely, “Under Route 520, Lake Washington” is a great study of concrete and gloom under a highway.
Micca’s use of telling details – like the gleam of sunlight on an inflatable pool in “Reading By The Pool” and the way the fruit glistens in “Peach Pie” – shows an artist who is already fully in control of her gifts without being showy. Don’t miss the wonderful glow in “Amish Burning Trash at Sunset,” among many other works. The subtle wisp of smoke is evocative and just right.
“Summer Paintings” by Kelly Micca continues through Nov. 29 at the Oxford Arts Alliance. Visit www.oxfordart.org.To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.