Fitting Art Into One Square Foot


“Haiku” by LIMarts artist Marsha Solmon

Give a group of artists a 12 x 12 inch pre-made panel and let them create without the constraints of media or theme. That was the challenge LIMarts presented its members this past fall. The result is the second annual members exhibition, “One Square Foot,” on display at the Long Island Museum through January.

“I looked at the [size] restriction as a source of inspiration,” LIMarts artist Marsha Solmon said. “My canvases are often about 4 x 5 feet, so you could fit 20 of this into one of them! It got me thinking about Haiku, and how they are very specific in their size, yet some of my favorite works of poetry. I thought of how I could create a kind of visual Haiku, distilling the essence of my work—color, line, and movement—down to a very small size.  I even titled the painting “Haiku” and included a book of Haiku in the still-life arrangement.”

Solmon’s acrylic painting, “Haiku” is one of the works on display in “One Square Foot.” The New York-based artist joined the collaborative arts group at the Long Island Museum last year.

“Neil Watson, the director, and everyone at the museum have made a tremendous effort to welcome and support local artists,” Solmon said. “They’ve been just wonderful to work with.”

The museum began LIMarts in 2014 as a way to help give artists a creative to share their artwork, their ideas and experiences. This is the second members’ exhibit they’ve had.

“It’s hugely rewarding to create art, but also really nice to have it seen,” Solmon said.

In “Haiku,” which is part of Solmon’s new series The Edge of Color, several colored glass vases, pieces of fabric and a Haiku book float on a featureless white background. Some of the objects are discernible and some aren’t.

“I set a table in my studio with things I’d like to paint,” Solmon said of the process of creating “Haiku.” “The composition always starts in reality and then progresses towards abstraction. I arrange, rearrange, move and remove till the colors and shapes are what I’m looking for. Then I do full-scale pastel drawings to work out how the painting will look before I even pick up a brush. After that, changes in light, or changes in my perspective and how I see the composition can alter the final work.”

See “Haiku,” and more LIMarts members work in One Square Foot on exhibit at the Long Island Museum through Jan. 31.