It’s award season, and canine celebrities are walking the
red green carpet at New York’s Madison Square Garden at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Show, as I write. Closer to home, there’s a beguiling show of ceramic dog sculptures by Ronnie Gould that is well worth a visit to Concord center’s Lacoste Gallery this month.
The Bedford artist, who studied ceramics at the deCordova Museum and teaches at Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, captures the essence of each breed so adeptly that I half-expected the dogs to leap off their pedestals to greet me at the gallery door. Entitled “Animal Attitudes,” the exhibit also includes several of Gould’s sculptures of exotic and endangered species. It runs through March 4.
Gould, who has trained show dogs and is a passionate animal lover, captures the fetching personalities of her subjects with obvious affection for their idiosyncrasies. Each hand-crafted piece is unique, the result of the artist’s keen powers of observation and the alchemy of the ceramic process.
Describing her technique, Gould states on her website: “First, each piece is hand-built from stoneware. Some are coated with a porcelain slip to give a brilliant white surface. They are then dried and bisque fired to harden the clay before final glazing. They are then fired a second time using one of the following techniques: Raku, saggar, or smoke.”
The raku glaze’s distinctive crackling porcelain finish proves a particularly effective way to render the rough, white coat of a West Highland Terrier. Nearly life-size (it measures 12 x 9 x 13 in.), the Westie sits pertly with ears up, eyebrows raised and head turned, as if to say, “I’m sorry, was there something else you needed?”
Competing for best in show are: a stolid, heavy-lidded Basset Hound; a Napoleonic-looking Dachshund; a debonair Jack Russell sporting an orange polka-dot bandana; a defiant Bull Terrier wearing a leather collar; a stout Pug leashed to a ceramic fire hydrant; a Black Labrador poised for play with a ball between its paws; and last but not least, a winsome Corgi worthy of the Queen’s canine entourage. Rounding out the field are a Golden Retriever, a Chihuahua, a Whippet, a Border Collie and a French Bull Dog.
If you are interested in commissioning Ronnie Gould to create a ceramic likeness of your dog, please contact her representative Lucy Lacoste at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lacoste Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Thursday to 8 p.m. ) and by appointment, and is located at 25 Main Street in Concord, MA.