This past winter, I had the opportunity to design a touch tour and write verbal descriptions for an exhibit featuring the work of Ohio artist James Mellick. Here is one of his more lighthearted dog sculptures.
When I Grow Up, 2007
This abstract sculpture of a very small dog on very tall legs stands about 4’ high. The body looks like a breadbox on stilts. The four legs rise up as four separate elements and are joined by a rectangular mid-section of two pieces with a wide gap running horizontally along its side. The legs are slender and elongated with knees and elbows about a third of the way up from the floor. The muscles, tendons and joints in the legs are subtly indicated by the gentle swelling of the stick-like limbs that then flare out at the thighs and shoulders. They appear to have been stretched as if they were elastic. The four pad-like paws with their carved front toes standing squarely on the ground seem large given the thinness of the legs. Behind each of the front legs, the dewclaws are represented by teardrop form attached at to the limb at its upper tapered neck and the globule hanging in high relief.
Two large bat-like ears resembling large pasta shells growing up from the back edges of the head mounted at the front end of the boxy body. The brow sits well below the ears. The muzzle tapers toward the blunt rectangular nose. The mouth is a narrow downward slit toward the bottom of the muzzle.
At the other end, a long thin tail curls down and around the rump, between the hind legs, where it then arcs downward beneath the middle of the torso.
The shapes are very simplified and there is minimal detail. The surface is smooth and polished with a soft sheen.