Jason Bronner's Dogs of the Empire show at Saint Mary's University Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries in Winona, MN couldn't be more timely. His drawings and paintings, inspired by the street dogs, legends, and dog art of Rome, express the duality of dogs' ferocity and affection. Bonner also considers this dual nature in respect to foreign policy and looks at parallels between the empires of ancient Rome and the U.S.
Dogs are hunters and guardians. They seek dominion, either from their masters, or imposed by themselves. I am interested in the tension between the part of the dog that can tear apart it's quarry, but then return to the side of its master and lick his face or the faces of the children. It is easier for us to conceptualize a beast as completely evil, or an angel or virgin or hero who is only good nurturing, comforting. The dog is both.
The dog can be a metaphor for the protective element of the government as well as the oppression of the state. The same dog that was once a companion has been turned into a beast that the government declares is needed to protect us. One begins to wonder if this same dog causes more fear in those it should protect than the supposed danger it protects us from.
The Dogs of Ulysses