What motivated De Forest to paint dogs?
This is Country Dog Gentleman, by Bay Area artist Roy De Forest. De Forest painted this lighthearted image of a group of cartoony, grinning animals in 1972. The work is in part a reaction against what De Forest once identified as “falsely profound art.” There’s a distinct silliness to this work. Each dog has unique multicolored eyes. The one at bottom center has two strands of red dots pouring out of its head. And on the far left, a howl comes out as an abstracted rainbow. Dots and shapes and colors crowd the canvas, leading our gaze in many directions at once. The cacophonous and vibrant quality her is typical of De Forest’s work. He also continued to use dogs as the principal actors in his paintings, prints, and drawings throughout his career.
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