The oil paintings in my art exhibition, Unleashed, respond to the growing correlation between pivotal, cultural disruptions, like 9/11 and the Covid-19 global pandemic, and increased numbers in dog adoptions by exposing viewers to the peculiar world of pets. Pets are now included members of nearly every household, and they fulfill many conflicting roles based on their owners’ relationships with them. Dogs and their owners often form impenetrable, co-dependent bonds with one another, and in many cases the company of dogs has become interchangeable with that of humans.
By combining cute yet disturbing combinations of stark, playful and vibrant colors, fuzzy textures, and familiar subject matter, my oil paintings reveal the trivial nature of dogs and pet culture. Domestic dogs fulfill many unexpected roles within their ‘pack,’ and this body of work sheds light on the stark duality of dogs. Dogs are innately parasitic, yet they can be dependable companions. They fill voids for affection, yet they reveal humanity’s desire to control, obsess over and dictate. Dog breeders prey on the population through intense methods of consumerism, and dog lovers support the sinister side of pet culture by overlooking it entirely.
As a postmodern artist, I combine methodical brush work inspired by the historical pet portraits of Maud Earl with electric color combinations inspired by Yayoi Kusama to coax contemporary consumers. My intricate dog portraits highlight the expressivity and importance of dogs through elements of kitsch, exaggeration, repetition and distortion. The ball paintings characterize toy balls suspended in dark, isolating space, revealing metaphors involving pets, their owners, consumption and unexpected moments of beauty. These paintings unleash the capabilities of pet portraiture, glorifying dogs and their coveted toy balls by positioning viewers between the cute and grotesque, equally attracting and repelling them through enticing color, striking subjects and meticulous detail.