¨For the Love of Dogs¨

With a giant Dalmatian puppy over its entry and silhouettes of a different breed in each of its windows, ¨For the Love of Dogs¨ begs for attention before visitors even make it through the door. It´s sure to be an effective method of getting kids to hound their parents into taking them to see an art exhibit. The desire to pun is nearly irresistible, so let´s just get the obvious ones out of the way: ¨It´s a doggone cute show that has some teeth to it! Perfect for the dog days of summer!¨ OK, now we can focus on the substance of the show, which is nearly 100 works, including paintings, photographs, and sculptures, on the subject of canine life. Among the artists is Ron Burns, artist in residence for the Humane Society of America. His color-drenched pet portraits, like If You Want Me I´ll Be in the Kitchen, feature Humane Society ¨models¨ and show the artist´s graphic-arts background in the colors and composition. In contrast, Beth Carlson´s oil paintings take a more traditional approach, celebrating dogs in country life. Barrie Barnett, whose art career began with people portraits and evolved into animal portraiture, lends her vivid, detailed pastels to the exhibit. Rachelle Oatman anthropomorphizes her tail-waggers in oil, depicting them in clothing and human contexts. In addition to these national artists, local artists also contribute their talents to the exhibit. In all, the subject-themed exhibit offers some strong work in a variety of media. (Through September 8 at Cornell Museum, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-243-7922.) - Marya Summers

NOW SHOWING

¨His work is so mature for an artist his age,¨ gallery owner and director Donna Tribby effused at the recent opening of ¨Matt Godwin: Spring Paintings.¨ Just a year after graduating from Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach in 2006, the 19-year-old artist calls Boston home, now that ¨a wise art investor traded for studio space there,¨ Tribby said. Artist´s age aside, the paintings attest to an active, unsettled, and cynical mind that is reflected in both style and subject. For instance, Acne Abstraction captures the ugliness and pain of the angry pustules, and the condition´s persistence is reflected in serial breakouts, three of which are displayed. Another series, Acidic Painting on Acid Free Paper, demonstrates the artist´s sardonic wit. Lucy´s Hard Work Paid Off, in fact, uses the Peanuts´ smug know-it-all to take a jab at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Another of the series, simply titled Turkey, illustrates not only the artist´s intellect but also a style that is equal parts studied and spontaneous, deliberate yet sincere. While only 14 works are hung in the small Antique Row gallery space, almost as many more are on hand. If you want, you can get a preview at mattgodwin.org, where the talented, prolific, and savvy artist has cataloged images of all of his work. (Through July 4 at Donna Tribby Fine Art, 3506 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Call 561-833-4001.)

A sort of heaven on Earth tucked away in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan has been revered as home to gods and Bhutanese mortals. Buddhist since the Seventh Century, the culture reveres all life, so the natural splendor of this Asian country is well-preserved. Until the late 20th Century, the country was closed to outsiders, and even now, to maintain its natural environment, tourism is strictly limited (according to the Bhutan Tourism Corp., only 18,000 tourists were permitted in 2006). So if you aren´t one of the lucky ones who can visit the kingdom of heaven before you die, you can always visit ¨Bhutan: The Cloud Kingdom.¨In addition to paintings, clothing, jewelry, prayer flags, and other cultural objects, the exhibit provides 60 photographs that document the land, dwellings, people, and culture of this country nestled between Tibet and India. Informative placards accompany the exhibit and let visitors know, for instance, about the symbolism within a flag with a dragon (honors the country´s nickname ¨Land of the Thunder Dragon¨) on a two-toned background (yellow honors the country´s secular authority; orange honors Buddhism) or the waterproof qualities and multiple uses of colorful, woven bamboo bowls. The exhibit´s five paintings (all gouache on paper) are spiritual in nature, depicting the Thunder Dragon, deities, parables, and important cultural symbols, while the objects reveal both the practical lives of the Bhutanese and their aesthetics. (Through July 31 at Society of the Four Arts, Children´s Art Gallery, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach. Call 561-655-7227.)

 
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