By Punch Pep correspondent Elizabeth Fischer
Many who know me know my love for sports, the environment and yes, animals. As the proud mother of several rescues, including Emma (Shih Tzu), I love everything and anyone who embraces the four-legged bundles of smiles and happiness. And so, because of this passion and love, I make note of the below.
It is Thursday. Not even a full day till Friday and the 5 oâ€™clock hour bewitching hour that signifies the start of the weekend. It is beautiful outside. It is the perfect way to meet complete strangers, even the ones that greet you with big sloppy kisses. What is it you ask? It is a Yappy Hour tonight from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Strathmore in Bethesda. Easily accessible by metro â€“ take the red line and get off at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station.
While I know the invite for tonight is last minute â€“ the exhibit â€œrunsâ€ through June 23, 2012. And what a fun exhibit it is! Besideâ€™s tonightâ€™s Yappy Hour, there are other fun upcoming events centered on the exhibit that include: Drawn to Dogs and Childrenâ€™s Art and Talk.
I was fortunate to get a sneak peak and now share only some of what you can discover. Below is detailed information about the exhibit and upcoming events.
There are 78.2 million dogs owned in the United States.Â America has gone to the dogs in an undeniable way, and the new exhibition Strathmore Unleashed! explores the significance of manâ€™s best friend with works by 25 artists in the Mansion and campus grounds from Saturday, April 28 through Saturday, June 23, 2012.Â The societal significance of dogs, their emotional and economic value, representation in art throughout history, anthropomorphism and, conversely, the animalistic nature of humans are touched upon through painting, photography, installation, video, mixed media, fiber art and sculpture to explore the multidimensional impact dogs have on people.
The Opening Reception for Strathmore Unleashed! on Thursday, May 3, 2012 from 7:00 â€“ 9:00 p.m. will feature a special Yappy Hour from 6:00 â€“ 7:00 p.m., for dog owners to bring their pets to the exhibition.Â The reception is free and open to the public.Â Parking is available in the Mansion parking lot.Â Well-socialized dogs are welcome in the Mansion for Yappy Hour, provided they and their owners observe the following doggie decorum: dogs must always be on a leash; no animals on the furniture; while on campus â€“ owners are expected to pick up after their pooches; and dogs may not be tied up or left unattended at any time.
Initially inspired by the book Barkitecture by Fred Albert, Strathmore Unleashed! elevates the dog domicile to a fine art with five doghouse structuresâ€”from futuristic polypod structures to scale models inspired by the Sydney Opera House. Highlights of the exhibition include weimaraner photographs by the iconic William Wegman; large scale installations by Massachusetts artist Dale Rogers; fiber sculpture by Ann Citron; painting by David Corcoran, Anna Dibble, Clair Hartmann and Heather LaHaise; a memorial assemblage by Donna McCullogh; mixed media works by Jackie Ehle; and video by Moira McLaughlin of Dog Art Today.
Also featured in the exhibition are painters Kathryn Freeman, Kent Ambler, Shelila Cameron and Marjorie Weiss; sculptor John James Anderson; metalsmith Virginia Sperry; mixed media artist Jane Oâ€™Hara and Jeanne Drevas; woodworker Michael Brolly; and architects Dickson Carroll, Michael Leighton Beaman, Tom Gibbons, Zaneta Hong, Nina Lesser and Stephen Sheng.
SUMMARY OF WILLIAM WEGMANâ€™S WORKS IN STRATHMORE UNLEASHED!
In the Mansion, visitors will see a lesser-known side of photographer William Wegman, popular for his photographs of weimaraners. Strathmore Unleashed! features the triptych â€œGreen Caramel,â€ a single dog complete via three separate images and given different color treatments to enhance the different shades represented in its coat, as well as â€œShow of Shadowâ€ featuring a backlit shadow of Wegmanâ€™s muse projected onto a silkscreen and â€œUntitled (Yawning)â€ featuring a dog, wide-mouthed, yawning deeply, its image reflected in a mirror.Â All three pieces are on loan from Washington, D.C.â€™s Adamson Gallery. Nest, loaned by Wegman for the exhibition, features two weimaraners entangled and curled up in a tufted mustard yellow chair, against a similarly-colored background, highlighting Wegmanâ€™s ability to address the subtleties of color in the dogâ€™s coat.
SUMMARY OF EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS
Strathmore Unleashed! is experienced even before viewers enter the Mansion, as theyâ€™re met with three of Dale Rogersâ€™ towering 6-foot-tall, rust-covered American Dog sculptures guarding the Mansion grounds. The pieces were originally conceived for Rogersâ€™ 2009 exhibition Big Dog Show; upon its premiere it was the largest solo exhibit in New England.
In the Mansion, painted works depict dogs in varying lights. David Corcoranâ€™s imposing portrait juxtaposes a straight-ahead view of a snarling German Shepherd next to an equally menacing, self portrait of the artist screamingâ€”revealing similar primal behavior and expressions in animals and humans. Representative of ubiquitous witty Internet memes, Anna Dibble paints dogs in a comical light, with wry narration accompanying each piece as her animal subjects find themselves in humanistic situations. Clair Hartmanâ€™s work reflects the deification of pets in art, with her hyper-realistic pet portraits showcasing the unique personalities of dogs and, inherently, their owners. Heather LeHaise balances abstractionism and realism in her portraits, with elongated limbs and exaggerated settings that make her subjects seem to drip off the canvas.
A memorial assemblage by Donna McCullough features found objects with the centerpiece being her departed German Shepherd, Rudyâ€™s tag, representative of human grieving and the profound impact pets have on their ownersâ€™ lives. Conversely, the mixed media sculpture of Jackie Ehle showcases dogs in a lighthearted way, depicting the familiar image of a dog craning its head out a car window, an orange pup bounding through the air and a pooch obediently seated. Her work is executed using wire and found objects, including map remnants, scrap metal, plastic and glass. Fiber artist Ann Citron features the stereotypical â€œbad dogâ€ in her work, the quirky pooch relieving itself in gold beads on the gallery floorâ€”so cute the viewer canâ€™t be mad.
Moira McLaughlinâ€™s video installation tracks the visual treatment of dogs in art throughout history, with Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greco-Roman tile and Renaissance painting seamlessly morphing to cartoon drawing, abstracts and 8-bit interpretations of manâ€™s best friend.
In Drawn to Dogs on Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 10:00 a.m.â€“2:30 p.m., students 6-11 years old sketch-a-pet using famous First Dogs like Checkers and Bo as inspiration. This workshop invites youngsters to study artist George Rodrigueâ€™s Blue Dog series and tour Strathmore Unleashed! before creating one-of-a-kind dog portraits using oil pastels, watercolor and wax-resist techniques. Tuition: $45 (Stars Price $40.50).
On Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 10:15 a.m., a Childrenâ€™s Talk & Tour invites children to explore the exhibition and exercise their creativity through a hands-on arts activity.Â At the 1:00 p.m. Art Talk & Tour, adults learn about the artwork in the exhibitions from exhibition curator Harriet Lesser.Â Both events are free.Â Reservations are required for the Childrenâ€™s Talk & Tour and can be made by calling (301) 581-5109.
So come one come all!Â Â Join other like minded souls with theirÂ four-legged friends tonight; or come any day to enjoy the exhibit.Â It is a real treat.
Attorney Elizabeth Fischer is Punch Pep Correspondent. She is working as an Entrepreneur, Lawyer and Student (environmental studies), covering events for Pamela’s Punch as a generalist correspondent. When she is not working, studying or playing soccer or tennis, she is walking her pups, traveling the globe, running marathons, and enjoying all DC has to offer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.