10/2/10 11:03 AM
The miniature is often mistaken for the cute, but oftentimes that is, indeed, a mistake. Take the teeny tiny people that populate Kimberly Convery’s small gouache and ink drawings. These wee figures scale giant trees, cover steep mountains and crowd together on floating islands. If at first it all seems sweet and innocuous, look again. This is the world as it will one day be, if we do not fix our vast environmental problems fast: Overpopulation. Flooding. Shrinking land masses. Drowned forests and animals and humans. Rescue helicopters and ships. Convery’s genius is to draw the viewer in with a genuinely charming style, pleasing in its restraint, simplicity and gentle cartoonishness—then to lightly wallop us as we realize what she is really illustrating. Not some watery land where Lilliputians roam free, but a planet where the icebergs have melted, the continents have all but disappeared, and the remaining people are stuck on scraps of terrain, living like insects, in utter desperation. There’s nothing cute about that scenario, folks. But it could be ours all too soon. Fortunately warnings come in all shapes and sizes—Kimberly Convery’s got those of us who are naturally drawn to the cute covered. Now who’s going to go after those citizens for whom the big, strong and swarthy appeals?