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Review: Happy Dogs and Etchynpufe 

New work at Martine Chaisson Gallery and The Foundation Gallery

click to enlarge walking_the_dead.jpg

Who doesn't love dogs? They are the only creatures who actually seem to like Earth's most deadly predators: humans. We, in turn, treat them like family and artists including George Rodrigue and William Wegman celebrate them in art. Add West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran and local photographer J.T. Blatty to the list of dog watchers. This show features her dog, Cuba, whose "love of life" inspires her to produce twilight landscapes like Waking the Dead (pictured), in which an illuminated canine in motion appears as a colorful abstraction of light rays in a cemetery. I love animals but often find dog art baffling, and here I thought of Voodoo spirits (though cats, not dogs, ordinarily double as Voodoo spirits), but let's take Blatty's word that these images reflect "the freedom within all of us." Note also that basset hound and German shepherd rescue missions receive 10 percent of sales proceeds.

The Foundation Gallery has a dual mission to promote innovative art and support social activism with proceeds from its sales. This charmingly quirky Etchynpufe show curated by What Editions features copperplate etchings by four artists including Music Box collaborator Andrew Schrock, who makes sculptures from those same copper etching plates, welding the seams and inflating them with compressed air so they puff like pillows. Here an etching by Hugo Girl of a demonic flip phone encircled by a serpent is echoed by Schrock's puffed copper sculpture Hydroform 2. Other works, like Schrock's etching of gesturing hands with cryptically tattooed fingers, or Summer Sandstorm's hallucinogenic, glitter-speckled etching of a pensive woman morphing into a diabolical clown, are no less intriguing. Perhaps most surprising is Sarrah Danziger's stony-textured series of stricken, slack-jawed female facial expressions and osseous-looking male body parts. Etchynpufe is a wonderfully surprising show, and 25 percent of proceeds go to the New Orleans Community Print Shop's excellent youth program.

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