Lydia Blakeley


Paintings that encapsulate all the feels of 2020

Lindsay Preston Zappas | January 5, 2021

This week’s picks include paintings that encapsulate all the feels of 2020; mixed media paintings that focus on fatherhood and resilience; and paintings of dog shows that let the dogs be center stage.

Lydia Blakeley at Steve Turner 

Remember that scene at the beginning of “Lady and the Tramp” when dog owners stroll by with their pups, each owner matching its dog in style and temperament? Lydia Blakeley’s new online show of paintings at Steve Turner takes dog-owner relationships even further: to the competitive dog show arena. In the show, the human-owners can never be seen in full and instead appear as disembodied hands or a pair of legs. Central to each painting is a dog (or set of dogs, as in “Flock of Beagles”), whose eyes are fixed on their off-screen owner, focused and at attention –– others seem defiantly unamused. A taut leash appears in each work, connecting each bulldog or maltese like an umbilical cord to its owner, eliciting issues of control, pageantry, and dominance and moving beyond the typical fond depictions of pet-owner relationships. Still, in each painting, the dog owner is omitted –– pictured as background noise — and almost becomes subservient to the dog in all its majesty.

On view: December 16, 2020–January 16, 2021

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