This is blind Larry the pitbull, in a painting by Sherry Markovitz called Blind Larry. He lives in South Seattle and goes to the dog park. He is at Greg Kucera Gallery along with many other dogs tonight and for several weeks.
This is blind Larry the pitbull, in a painting by Sherry Markovitz called Blind Larry. He lives in South Seattle and goes to the dog park. He is at Greg Kucera Gallery along with many other dogs tonight and for several weeks. Courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery

This week on KUOW, The Record host Bill Radke asked me which shows I'd recommend at the Pioneer Square First Thursday tonight and one of them is Sherry Markovitz's dog show.

Bill Radke was skeptical. He does not like dog art, in general. Too cloying.

Me neither. So you should trust me when I say that tonight, during Art Walk, you should make a point of stopping at Greg Kucera Gallery to see Sherry Markovitz's dog show, because I don't even like dog shows (of art) and I like this dog show (of art) (the wonder of actual dog shows is another matter).

Markovitz spent two years watching dogs, observing them detachedly as she mourned the death of the dog she used to walk to that very dog park. Over time, she found a way to take dogs seriously as art subjects, but not so seriously that they became some version of the 18th-century stilted social-class markers created by George Stubbs and all his many followers in the years since.

One of the ways she did it is through material mastery. She paints on cotton, and she knows how to make a stretch of cotton into a depth of field that's an actual place, defined in color, humidity, weather. She does this without painting a single object other than the dogsā€”no tree, no cloud, no grass. But it's all there.

Her greatest accomplishment is giving the dogs emotional life without projecting something human onto them. They do not feel her there watching. They are them. But how can she get them down without giving them something of her? She must, but I can't find it.

You will see. (More on First Thursday here.)