I love my dog and my dog loves me by Gillie and Marc Schattner

at Richard Martin Woollahra, Sydney

In this exhibition Gillie and Marc explore the theme of true, unconditional love through man's best friend, the dog. They assign dogs human activities and give them human personalities, proposing an optimistic future of friendship and unconditional love for the human race. Gillie and Marc honor the spirit and nature of the dog, and the way their love can make humans better at being human

Art Exhibition previously on in Australia.
From Saturday 14 March 2009 to Wednesday 01 April 2009

Good Boy image

Published by anonymous on Tuesday 10 March 2009.
Contact the publisher.

How long have dogs and humans been living together? Archaeologists working in Israel recently uncovered the 12, 000 year old grave of an early human who was buried cradling a pup in one hand. Other evidence suggests the bond may go back 14, 000 years – or even longer.

Scientists working in fields as diverse as evolutionary biology, archaeology and genetics are giving us new insights into how Canis lupus, the grey wolf, became Canis familiaris, the domestic dog. Geneticists have shown that all dogs can trace their lineage back to a single female wolf. Early human rubbish dumps were a reliable source of food for a wolf who was willing to live in close proximity to humans. Over time, the wolves who were best able to make friends with humans – by showing friendliness, and adopting humans as their pack – survived, evolving into the animal we know today as the dog.

Dogs have been shaped by humans from the beginning – we created all 400 breeds of dog. But what effect has the companionship of dogs had on us?

Throughout history, we’ve regarded dogs as companions, as symbols, as messengers. The Egyptians, whose gods took animal and human form, worshipped a dog-god called Anubis who was the God of the Dead, but also the God of Magic, the personification of Time, and a carrier of messages from the underworld to heaven.

Similarly, for many Aboriginal people, dingoes were animals who lived across two worlds: they were camp dogs, part of the physical life of the tribe, but they were also seen as messengers from the spirit world.

Dogs have been gods and companions, family members and messengers from the realms of death, magic, and mystery. They work for us, as hunters, herders, guardians. They’re a mirror for our hopes, fears and dreams.

Like people, dogs are pack animals. They’re good at reading faces, moods, emotions. Dogs want to be part of our lives, and they’re responsive to our moods; that’s why they make excellent companions for children, the sick, the elderly. The company of dogs is good for our health and our souls. Perhaps this is why 42% of Australians are dog owners.

The emotional lives of dogs are simpler than ours. Dogs show love and loyalty, affection and trust. They adore us, protect us, and always want to be with us. Dogs seem like a version of ourselves, our better selves: joyous, spontaneous, living in the moment, dedicated to pleasure, but never an entirely selfish pleasure, because at heart they crave our love. And their love for us is unconditional.

We love our dogs because they bring out our humanity. We recognise in them the qualities we most admire in ourselves. After 12,000 years, dogs are the people we want to be.

Gillie and Marc’s art

In this exhibition Gillie and Marc explore the theme of true, unconditional love through man’s best friend, the dog. They assign dogs human activities and give them human personalities, proposing an optimistic future of friendship and unconditional love for the human race. Gillie and Marc honor the spirit and nature of the dog, and the way their love can make humans better at being human.

Gillie and Marc have developed their painting style, placing a narrative scene in the backgrounds of their portraits. This gives a further dimension and depth to their work. Their colour palette uses bright colors suggesting that love must shine. Yet because love is something that is not easy to see clearly they have chosen to add a layer of abstraction to the portrait. By splattering paint over the final image they say that love is within our grasp but we must look deeper to see all its beauty.

Relationships and love are ongoing themes in Gillie and Marc’s artwork. Painting together on the same canvas has made them very aware of just how important love and understanding is. Their act of painting is representative of the way society at large must function collectively to be productive and creative.

When we witness the devastation that man can cause to his environment and his fellow man, Gillie and Marc think it is not only timely but of crucial importance to show another side of humanity – a side seen through the happiness, joy and love of our dogs.

Today Gillie and Marc have a new best friend, an eight-year-old Golden Retriever called ‘Moby’. He is a watchdog, a playmate for their children, a companion, and he gives them unconditional love every ay. And they love him for it.