Cinema: ...but perfectly formed

Miniatures make an artistic comeback
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Small, as the saying goes, is beautiful. Whether that is because it is cutesy or so tiny that there is little room for strident criticism is a debatable point. We all love something with the air of pocketability about it. Think of snuff boxes, pill boxes, card cases, lovers' snapshots...

And so it is with art. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was considered the height of fashion and culture to keep aside a room of the house where tiny treasures could be displayed and enjoyed. It was something of a museum mania. Paintings of these proportions were as appealing as sweets are to children.

Jason and Rhodes have crammed their usually capacious gallery with the work of 70 artists who were invited to contribute pieces no bigger than 8ins by 8ins. The idea of the miniature in art is of course nothing new. Great civilisations have always created tiny masterpieces to demonstrate their facility in working on a Lilliputian scale. Works in this exhibition entitled, fittingly, "Cabinet Art", range from oil on canvas and sculpture to artist's books and even conceptual pieces - something for everyone, whether classicist or formaldehyde freak.

Artists participating include Trevor Bell, Helen Chadwick, Alexandra Drysdale, Terry Frost and William Gear. There's certainly an opportunity to snap up a small treasure from a big name at a reasonable price. Bridget Riley, for example, comes in at about pounds 3,000 for her Colour Study for Orange. Tim Long on the other hand asks just pounds 12 for one of his hand-bound artist's books.

Perhaps the most provocative title in the show is John Greenwood's politically cheeky oil painting vignette - What you get when you cross Tony Blair with Michael Portillo [right].

'Cabinet Art': Jason and Rhodes Gallery, 4 New Burlington Place, London W1 (0171-434 1768) from 9 Aug to 16 Sept

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