House-trained Press Release

House-trained: Contemporary Depictions of Dogs
June 7 – July 12 at Gallery NAGA

This exhibition didn’t come about through the lens of art history, but from a much more selfish place – our love of dogs at Gallery NAGA.

We’re dog people. We tend to drop everything to greet any furry friend that enters the gallery. We sometimes sit for Lola, our friends’ French bulldog puppy, who spends the day at the gallery quietly accepting pats. The problem with Lola, of course, is the accidents. Safer, then, to acquire a painting or sculpture that is fully house-trained from day one. What could be better than a pet that doesn’t need to be walked and let out?

This exhibition features work by Joseph Barbieri, Jeff Downing, Cig Harvey, William Irvine, Dinorá Justice, Judy Kensley McKie, Todd McKie, George Nick, Sage Sohier, Ed Stitt, and William Wegman. A reception for the artists, public, and pooches, will be held at the gallery on Friday, June 7 from 6 to 8 pm.

Jeff Downing creates ceramic sculptures of dogs, often sitting on their hind legs, looking alertly at the viewer. Their surfaces are covered with colorful marks, almost puzzle–like in their geometry. Their mouths hang open to reveal nicely proportioned teeth attached to menacing red gums and tongues. But these dogs aren’t frightening, they are playful and eager to please.

Sage Sohier’s photograph, Nancy with Show Yorkies, Loxahatchee, Florida, depicts a woman lying on a draped sofa covered by close to a dozen small Yorkies. Each dog is in a varied state of preparedness, presumably having just been primped for the runway.

William Irvine’s painting Let’s Play portrays a woman wearing a yellow dress standing in the doorway of her cottage. In the yard between her and her seated dog is an orange ball. It’s hard to deny the tenderness of the scene. Is the dog asking the woman to play or is the woman asking the dog? Either way, you can’t help but smile. Happy Summer!