You can’t help warming to Blue Dog. Initially, the concept seems bizarre and the natural reaction is to ask, “is this art or a cartoon?” We’ll skim over the idea that a cartoon might not be art (of course it is). The point of the enquiry is to establish how we’re meant to view a series of paintings of a blue dog whose appearance is largely unchanged, though yet remarkably expressive for all that.
George Rodrigue explains, “When I began the series of Blue Dog paintings in 1984, I had no idea that they would consume the greater part of my life”. This is not something planned, but has rather taken over its creator rather in the way that it, quite inexplicably, also takes over the viewer. Open the book and you’ll want to delve deeper. Blue Dog somehow becomes everyman and speaks a greater truth than we find within ourselves. In meditation, there’s a thing called a Yantra, a perfectly-coordinated design, contemplating which allows the mind to open and become the recipient of its own inner truths. So, in a way that defies definition, does Blue Dog.
Each drawing has a title that’s integral to it. Some are descriptive, some bald statements, some gnomic. To continue the cartoon analogy, they’re the caption, yet they do not always explain, amplify or complement the painting. Sometimes they raise more questions than they answer.
As I said, Blue Dog defies and transcends explanation and I like that. If you were worried that the title implies that George Rodrigue might break the mystique, the two-page introduction is purely factual. Blue Dog remains enigmatic.
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