June 25, 2007 — Louise has done
it again! This is her latest Dane sculpture, Process of Elimination. It has not
yet been cast in bronze, so what you are seeing is the finished clay sculpture
prior to casting. You can see more views of this piece at Louise's
website. Here's what she has to say about it:
Process of Elimination
years ago while I was taking a sculpture workshop, a fellow student, upon hearing
that Great Danes were my subject matter of choice, commented that the best sculpture
he'd ever seen of a dog was of one pooping. He didn't know the sculptor's name.
Unfortunately I've never seen the piece, but the description intrigued me.
along came Rigel
of my other Danes particularly inspired a "pooping sculpture" but that
changed when we adopted Rigel from Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue. Rigel is
an uncoordinated, goofy and absolutely lovable Great Dane, but as such he doesn't
inspire the most elegant sculptures. However, the shape his body takes when he
does his business was irresistible to me as the basis for a sculpture.
I took artistic license and exaggerated
it to make it a stronger piece. I didn't know how people would react to this
sculpture so I solicited opinions from other artists and friends in the business.
Most dog (and especially Great Dane) lovers think it's hysterical, but a few
people see it as distasteful and have suggested that I might be tarnishing my
reputation with this sculpture. I really find this hard to understand. Maybe
as dog owners we are desensitized to the "process",
but I really don't see what is wrong with portraying the normal bodily function
of a dog. (I'm not showing the poop!) I would actually love to sculpt a life-sized
version and think it would be great for a dog park with a "poop happens,
pick it up" sign (and a pooper scooper). It would be really sad if this
was rejected by cities for fear of offending people.
I am considering elaborating
on this sculpture and making a composition which includes the full line, Process
of Elimination I and II with both dog and bitch versions of number one, since
the shapes are totally different and interesting. My reasons for doing this is
not to shock, but simply because I love the sculptural shapes of the acts and
quite frankly, in clay they make me laugh.
Someone commented (sarcastically)
that if I'm going to do a dog pooping, why wouldn't I do a dog licking itself?
Well, guess what? That's been on my list for a while; I would make it a girl
and call it "Because She Can".
I really don't see what the big deal is; this is what dogs do, unashamedly and
in front of whoever happens to be there. They don't know any different. We haven't
been able to teach them that it's not polite.
The life size Dog Days
(another of poor Rigel's sculptures) was removed from the City of Manitou Springs
in Colorado. The sculpture was on loan for a year but some business owners complained
that his privates were too large and they worried that it would affect tourism!
After almost a year of hearings and struggles it was decided that Dog Days could
not safely return. The whole affair gave me some great publicity but I found
it disturbing. It's bad enough when some people object to nude human sculpture,
but when it comes to a "nude" dog...
well that's just plain sad.
This incident has just made me
more determined to express myself as an artist and not to let the fear of controversy
affect what I sculpt.