An exhibition where, not only can you bring along your dog, but they are treated like a VIP guest is always going to be a winner; but add to that the work of terrific artist such as Sally Muir, Joanna Osborne and Lorraine Corrigan to name just three, then you you cannot fail to be wowed and impressed by The Dog Show, part of the Brighton Artists Open Houses and Festival.
Consisting of over 200 pieces of art, solely featuring dogs as the subject matter, The Dog Show is the brainchild of Joanna Osborne, in whose beautiful Grade II listed home the exhibition is hosted. Every detail of this exhibition has been lovingly thought through, from the trail of pavement chalk dogs leading to No 33 Sillwood, to the informative and cleanly designed website www.thedogshowbrighton.com, through to the welcoming touches of homemade cakes and dog treats on offer. There is also an inventive and fun programme of events taking place during the course of the show that include … On the Spot Dog Drawing by the very talented Sally Muir … Alma Haser’s unique pop up Dog Photobooth and even …a real Dog Show, where the winning dog has the honour of being sketched by Sally Muir.
All these fun initiatives do not detract from the quality of artwork on display from some familiar and not so familiar artists working in this genre. Sally Muir, possibly the best known artist exhibiting, has a large collection of paintings and drawings on display, including a wonderful collection of smaller framed potato print studies. As ever, all of Sally’s work looks so effortless and yet captures the personality of each and every dog with such insight and passion for her subjects. Ian Mowforth’s striking Lino cut prints are very impressive and also show an artist very much in tune with his subject matter. No wonder one of his dog Lino cut prints was selected for the RA Summer Exhibition last year. Another artist celebrating our unique relationship with dogs is Debbie Kendall, of the Enlightened Hound. Debbie uses Lino cuts and hand-drawn lettering to make vintage inspired prints for dog lovers. We just loved her quirky map showing the dogs of the British Isles.
In addition to the paintings and prints adorning the walls there is also a superb array of 3D artwork on display. Joanna Osborne’s clay sculptures are sublime, she utilises the natural properties of the clay to add personality and a tenderness to her subjects. Lorraine Corrigan’s elegant paper & wire sculptures make a delicate but commanding presence. Whilst Holy Smoke artist, Helen Thompson’s, unusual mix of wire and layering of textiles and thread creates a most atmospheric and haunting dog sculpture that reflects the fragility and beauty of our canine friends.
Robin Parker’s elegant wire sculptures are also very striking. Like loose sketches come to life, they are fluid, unfussy yet show such knowledge of the canine form. Also of note are the simple wire dog sculptures by Bridget Baker, who apparently only started making her wire animals after she retired following an inspiring visit to an Alexander Calder exhibition. With the minimal amount of wire work Bridget manages to capture great character in her subjects. Working on a similar scale are the fun Felted Fido dogs, created by Dee McCracken using a needle-felting technique. Dee manages to put so much intimate detail into these felted dogs that they look truly lifelike.
I cannot recommend The Dog Show highly enough, there is something for everyone’s pocket, with reasonably priced artwork and a selection of framed originals and unframed prints; not to mention an assortment of greeting cards and prints of the fabulous show poster available to buy.
The Dog Show is on every weekend in May, so if you are mad about dogs and passionate about art, then don’t miss this exhibition. And remember your dog is welcome too! Ralph loved it.