Ann Porter

Baby Dog #1
cast hydro cal
7 x 15 x 7 in.

Human and animal, technical and organic, cultural and intuitive; their formal confluence is the driving force behind my studio practice.  No matter how we attempt to discuss these concepts individually, one tends to spill over into the other, forming a rough collection of disparate elements that are part of a humorous and terrifying landscape – an enchanted forest.  All organisms inhabit this terrain with some degree of success, but the true sovereign, the creature that best exemplifies that shaky hold on perception is our constant companion – the dog.

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog –Franz Kafka

There are over 60 million dogs in the US today, most of them companion animals.  For many years, I have been using common objects in my artwork, feeling that we discover the overlooked about ourselves when we study the mundane, the seemingly obvious, and the carelessly discarded.  As Phillip K. Dick said: “If God were to return to us today, he would come back in the form of a spray can advertised on TV.”  With that in mind as I set up my new studio, I cam armed with carton after carton of found objects.  I also brought my dog.  A found object himself, my dog came to me from the local animal shelter in 1997 to be a studio companion.  As I started to work, it became obvious that the most interesting thing in my studio was not my latest series of pieces, but rather the relationship between my dog and me.  That relationship (one repeated millions of times over the US alone) is a borderland, a middle ground between species.  The formal expression of that middle ground – the Baby dogs – immediately followed.

© Ann Porter