(Portrait of the Artist as Dog)
Found 06/2010, Goodwill (183 and Metric)
Sorrowful and ambiguous, (Portrait) captures a nearly iconic moment of pain: the subject is alone in a bedroom, dark, facing away from either the door or the window, emotions dragging her downward. And yet the subject is not human: instead, this emotional burden is carried by a dog, or the artist as represented by dog.
Harris-Bonham’s painting draws on the blurred lines and sense of moment of Impressionist art and the challenging colors of Fauvism, and it is difficult to truly see the artist’s intent. The canine subject seems to be wearing clothes (a sweatshirt or robe perhaps), seems to have markings that suggest human hair, but these may be tricks of the room’s light. The pillow in front of the creature is ragged, suggesting the feathers of a fallen bird, perhaps a duck the dog was sent to retrieve. The degree to which the subject is literally, or allegorically, canine, cannot be known.