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Lydia Blakeley at Steve Turner


Remember that scene at the beginning of “Lady and the Tramp” when dog owners stroll by with their pups, each owner matching its dog in style and temperament? Lydia Blakeley’s new online show of paintings at Steve Turner takes dog-owner relationships even further: to the competitive dog show arena. In the show, the human-owners can never be seen in full and instead appear as disembodied hands or a pair of legs. Central to each painting is a dog (or set of dogs, as in “Flock of Beagles”), whose eyes are fixed on their off-screen owner, focused and at attention – others seem defiantly unamused. A taut leash appears in each work, connecting each bulldog or maltese like an umbilical cord to its owner, eliciting issues of control, pageantry, and dominance and moving beyond the typical fond depictions of pet-owner relationships. Still, in each painting, the dog owner is omitted – pictured as background noise – and almost becomes subservient to the dog in all its majesty.

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Image courtesy of Lydia Blakeley and Steve Turner Gallery.