by CARRIE SCOZZARO & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & ll clich & eacute;s aside, bigger isn't always better. Working within a 12-inch constraint, the artists in the Art Spirit Gallery's annual "Small Works Invitational" have consistently shown that good things do indeed come in small packages.
This year's exhibition features more than 150 pint-sized productions ranging from glass, clay, metal and mixed-media sculpture to drawing, painting and collage. Of the 30 participating artists in this ninth annual show, seven are new to the gallery. Hazen Audel, known for his large-scale metal sculpture, manages to find time outside his day job as a Ferris High School science and art teacher to run Architectural Artworks, as well as co-owning Native Ways Outdoor School. Influenced by Art Nouveau style, Audel has commissions in such places as the Montvale Hotel in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene's Centennial Trail.
Audel is joined by several other sculptors known for large-scale works, including Teresa McHugh, whose best-known local work is at Kootenai Medical Center. McHugh will be showing welded-metal tree studies.
Sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa will be exhibiting new bronzes, as well as the maquette-sized version of a recent commission, the Coeur, which graces Coeur d'Alene's new Chamber building entrance. And, if the name sounds familiar, it's because Gerard is the son of George Tsutakawa, renowned for his sculptures and fountains, like the one in front of the INB Performing Arts Center.
Another father-son connection is Stefan Grimes, whose father Robert has exhibited paintings and sculpture at the Art Spirit for years. Stefan will be exhibiting a handmade violin, showcasing the exceptional woodworking abilities that he sometimes lends to Robert's complex sculptural constructions.
Craftsman Ralph Mossman is one of two glass artists exhibiting this year (the other is local artist Steve Adams). Mossman is a 2002 Governor's Art Award winner who often collaborates with his artist-wife, Mary Mullaney, at their Heron Glass studio in Driggs, Idaho.
Like Audel, Sally Machlis is also a teacher -- at University of Idaho, where she is associate professor of art, design and art education. Machlis' work combines a love of text and imagery, as well as an affinity for mining personal narrative to reveal universal truths. She will be showing a series of collages. Machlis finds time to make art when she isn't illustrating children's books, and she works with the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Women's Caucus for Art and a myriad of other arts-oriented endeavors.
Another newcomer to "Small Works" is Bart Walker, one of several plein air painters represented. Walker, a Teton Valley resident, is especially gifted with capturing water and snowscapes. He's joined by painters Kyle Paliotto, a rising star in plein air circles, as well as John Thamm, Mel McCuddin and Don Ealy.
Other familiar names include popular sculptors Sister Paula Turnbull and Harold Balazs, and potters Gina Freuen, Terry Gieber and Chris Antemann, who is internationally known for her intensely complex porcelain artwork figurines. Miranda Howe will exhibit her wall-mounted "Constellation" series created while in residency in Joseph, Oregon, while local art instructors Michael Horswill and Dara Harvey will both show new mixed-media sculpture. George Carlson, whose retrospective debuts soon at the Denver Art Museum, will show bronzes while Morse Clary, known for his book forms, will exhibit books recently created during his residency at the new Sorenson Magnet School for the Arts. Longtime residents and collaborators Allen and Mary Dee Dodge will show their whimsical wood sculpture, while Laura Nuchols has new clay tile pieces that feature her unusual technique of sgrafitto decoration.
Two-dimensional works include the prints by Gonzaga University professor Mary Farrell and the evocative black and white monotypes by Seattle-based artist Cathy Gill. Elaine Green and Katherine Nelson will both exhibit new charcoal drawings.
"Small Works Invitational" at the Art Spirit Gallery, 415 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, from Dec. 7-31. Gallery hours: daily (except Dec. 25) from 11 am-6 pm; Fridays from 11 am-9 pm. Artist reception: Friday, Dec. 7, from 5-8 pm. Free. Visit www.theartspiritgallery.com or call (208) 765-6006.