Friday, April 10, 2009

A Woman and Her Dog

I can't think of another painting in the entire museum of a comparable couple. This is the pair who, when the museum closes and the guards go home, rise and run through the place like it's the garden of eden.
I wanted to see more of this subject, so I did an image search, the closest I could get to a couple in bed with their dog, was this modern stock photo.

So I narrowed my search to a woman and her dog, and this is what I got.

This is the simple relationship,the one that doesn't need interpretation. This we often overlook and take for granted. What draws us in is the relationship between people, the complicated and muddled emotional roller coaster we go through with the ones we go to bed with.
Kark Hofer painted many scenes of people in relationship, some say these are to celebrate human solidarity. His paintings are stories.
In Early Hour the dog gives the story structure.
Because he is soundly sleeping we know this is not the moment after sex, we also know that the man has not shot straight up in bed as though out of a nightmare, that he has either slowly lifted himself onto his elbow, or that he has been in that position long enough not to wake the dog. The dog is the humble servant, the loyal companion to the vulnerable woman, nude and uncovered in a bed with her lover.
The man, who seems to be in his lover's bed, with his lover's dog, is red, dark, contemplative, angular and sharp. It almost seems that he is troubled over something. Straight lipped wth his knee in the air. I wonder what he is thinking.
Who is she, who am I, who are we, what is this, emotions emotions emotions. And she sleeps, and he wonders.
But not the dog. The dog just holds her under him, waiting to see what she does when she wakes, not at all interested in thinking about what that will mean, but relaxed knowing his only task is to protect and love her. Its simple enough to induce sleep.

I get the sense that this is her home, the blue curtains are drawn, the windows blown open, her love, like a bird, has flown in. He watches over her. But who is more likely to be there tomorrow?

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