Born in Los Angeles in 1954. Small received a M.F.A. in 1975 and a M.F.A. in 1977 from California Institute of the Arts. She lived in New York City from 1978-1985. Small returned home to Los Angeles to teach and work since then.
Small's work has been featured in one-person exhibitions at the George Eastman House in Self-Polaroids, Rochester, New York. University of Alabama Art Gallery in SX-70 Polaroid Photographs in Huntsville, Popular Photography Gallery in SX-70 Polaroid Self-Portraits and Daniel Wolf Gallery in American Slang: Sets & Photographs in New York City, Creatis/Ufficio dell arte in 20 x 24 inch Polaroid Performances - Rena Small in Paris.
Small was chosen as an Emerging Artist of Southern California by the Fellows of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1987 and exhibited Flag Series: A Piece For Peace and Artists' Hands: Also, her lifelong series, Artists' Hands was featured in one-person shows at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, West Beach Café in Venice, Platt Gallery in Beverly Hills and the Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.
Her photographic conceptual images have been included in group exhibitions at the Light Gallery, Leo Castelli Gallery, Daniel Wolf Gallery, Washington Square East Galleries in American Vision, Sotheby Park Bernet, The Kitchen, Franklin Furnace and Grey Art Gallery in New York City: Soirée American in Contemporary Frontiers in Color in Arles, France; Venezia'79 in The Exploration of a Medium: The Polaroid Collection in Venice, Italy; CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, New York; William Penn Memorial Museum in Me Decade Forum: Woman in Photography in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Clarence Kennedy Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Center Georges Pompidou Museum, Paris, in The Exploration of a Medium: The Polaroid Collection in Paris; Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum in Copenhagen; Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Exploration of a Medium: De Sofortbildfotografie in Bonn, Germany; Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt, Germany; G.Ray Hawkins Gallery 1978-1987, Museum of Contemporary Art Auction 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2000 in Los Angeles.
Articles and reviews concerning Small's work have appeared in The Los Angeles Times (William Wilson, "Works to Rafters in Woman's Building, " May 3, 1974; and "'Images' Focuses on the Artist as Subject" Feb. 11, 1997 ). "Sharp Show at LACE 1987, The Los Angeles Times, Suzanne Muchnic and Josef Woodard's Special to the Times, "Platt Gallery Show Adds a Personal Touch:" Los Angeles Magazine feature story, "Palm Court" Dec. 1994, LIFE Magazine's "Pictures to the Editor- 15 Artists' Hands by Rena Small, February 1996. Petersen's Photographic Magazine ("Color Gallery '77", April 1976: Markene Kruse-Smith, "Rena Small's Contemporary Classics," December 1979), Parachute Magazine (France Morin, "In conversation with Lynda Benglis," June 1976), Artforum Magazine (Barbara Baracks, "Artpark: The New Esthetic Playground," November 1976; Thomas Lawson, October 1980 "New York Reviews."), The Chronicle (Sally Eauclaire, "'Self-Polaroids': No Match for the Masters, " May 7, 1978 Rochester, NY), Popular Photography Magazine (Jim Hughes, "Instant & Beyond," January 1979;" Ad for Camera Arts Magazine," July 1980), SX-70 Art (Ralph Gibson, Lustrum Press, 1979,New York, NY) The Magic Of Instant Photography, Peggy Sealfon, Boston, Massachusetts), O.C.S. News For the Japanese Community in the U.S.A. (Shioda, "Rena Small's 'in the red' at Popular Photography Gallery, " June 6, 1980, New York City), Newspaper Magazine East Hampton, NY ("Photography Portfolio, " June 20, 1980), Soho News (Andy Grundberg, "Small Jokes," July 2, 1980, The New York Times (Grace Glueck, "Things You Can Do With Photographs," July 11, 1980), Flash Art Magazine (Lynn Zelevansky, November 1980), Camera Arts Magazine ("American Slang Portfolio," November-December Premiere Issue 1980).
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