Exhibition spotlights animals in art

Published on May 16, 2012
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Dede LaRue’s "Scapegoat" won the Best of Show award at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine’s 25th International Exhibition on Animals in Art. (Courtesy of LSU)

Dede LaRue likes to sculpt animals with political messages. She chose to sculpt a life-size mountain goat for the mixed-media piece “Scapegoat” because of the species’ vulnerability to climate change.

“Stumbling on one knee, downtrodden, it goes forth into the wastelands, symbols of the sins of the modern world dangling from the red cord tied around its horns,” LaRue said.

The Denver artist won the $1,000 Best of Show award for “Scapegoat“ at the 25th International Exhibition on Animals in Art at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Seventy pieces of art depicting animals were on display during the show, March 24-April 29 in the veterinary school’s library. A total of 217 artists from 40 states, Canada, and Mexico submitted 506 entries for the show.

The judge and juror was William A. Fagaly, curator of African art at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Fagaly selected the works that appeared during the exhibition and most of the award winners.

Dr. Kurt J. Matushek, AVMA editor-in-chief, chose the watercolor “Cattle Call” by Judie Betts of Baton Rouge, La., to appear on the cover of this issue of the JAVMA. The piece also received the SVM Bulletin Award and will appear on the cover of the veterinary school’s next course catalog.

“The piece by Judie Betts really stood out as I toured this year’s art fair,” Dr. Matushek said. “The play of colors across what, for so many veterinarians, is such a common scene added an extra dimension, and I thought it would be especially striking reproduced on the JAVMA cover.”

The People’s Choice Award went to Kim Hamby of Blairsville, Ga., for “Ron,” a colored-pencil drawing of a sleeping cat.

The veterinary school’s library benefits from a 20 percent commission on sales of art from the exhibition.