Jackson, WY, August 13-26
This story was featured in the August 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine August 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine August 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
This month’s show at Trailside Galleries is going to the dogs. About 40 gallery and guest artists capture everything from beagles to boxers in more than 50 paintings and sculptures. A reception for the artists takes place on August 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from the show benefits the local animal shelter.
The show is the brainchild of gallery managing partner Maryvonne Leshe, a devoted dog lover. Says gallery director Joan M. Griffith, “We thought we could put our own twist on dog art by featuring our landscape, western, wildlife, and impressionist artists with the caveat that their work must have a dog as part of the subject—mutt, mongrel, or purebred.” Griffith adds that the unique relationship between man and dog has inspired artists since ancient times, from the cave dwellers to 18th-century British painter George Stubbs.
A special showcase spotlights a dozen paintings by gallery artist Joseph H. Sulkowski, who is renowned for his masterful portrayals of man’s best friend. Sulkowski studied at the Art Students League of New York; under the mentorship of Frank Mason, he learned anatomy while absorbing the Renaissance aesthetic with an emphasis on light, color, form, and atmosphere. Sulkowski would later hone and transfer his knowledge of the figure to creating portraits of people first and, later, their dogs. He jokes that he eventually noticed that his adult models often seemed to prefer having their dogs painted rather than their children. “I realized I could satisfy my desire to do figurative work by just painting furry figures,” he says.
In creating the elegant canine portrait SHADOW BOXER, Sulkowski spent several sessions observing his model. He makes a point of meeting every dog he paints, he says. Since animals can’t pose like their owners, and he doesn’t use photographs, Sulkowski has trained his visual memory. “I freeze moments in my mind’s eye,” he says. “And I look at the face to see how light reveals character.”
Participating artist Brenda Murphy grew up watching television shows like The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, the story of a boy in the West and his cherished German shepherd. Today Murphy focuses her artistic talents on drawing western scenes that depict the ranching life. Murphy says she found inspiration for this canine-inspired show in an old photograph of a friend—a father and his son on horseback with their dog, Buster, at their side. The dog has since passed away, and Murphy says the photograph stirred up memories of the family’s love for Buster.
Collectors and artists are enthusiastic about the show, and none more than painter and sculptor Veryl Goodnight. Goodnight owns four dogs, including two Alaskan Huskies, and says that dogs are both underrepresented and underappreciated in western art. Her painting, GUARDIAN OF THE MEEK, depicts a dog standing watch over a herd of sheep and pays homage to the canine as protector. “Surely God is within the soul of every dog,” Goodnight says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the August 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine August 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine August 2012 print edition
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