Quesnel Art Gallery’s August show is titled Dog Days of Summer. The members’ show is a tip of the hat to Roman history.
Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.
The Romans considered Sirius to be the Dog Star because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term Dog Days was used earlier by the Greeks.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise, which is no longer true, owing to the procession of the equinoxes.
The Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time “the sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics and phrensies” according to an 1813 source.
Art Gallery volunteer coordinator Pat Wahlstrom said this was a fun project and no dogs were sacrificed for the show.
“It’s sometimes difficult to get people to commit to a summer show; everyone is so busy,” she said.
“And member shows are always interesting because they inspire the artists to create new work.”
The show features multi-media including pottery, glass, paintings, quiltings, cards, knitting and other textile art.
Tasked with interpreting a canine theme, the artists showed why creativity is the premier quality necessary for what they do.
One artist, City arts coordinator Elizabeth Waldorf created floor clothes designed to go at a front door or under pet dishes.
Bearing the image of an ancient dog and the words Cave Canem (beware of the dog), the mosaic design was found on the floor of The House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.
Sale proceeds of the floor clothes will be donated to the Quesnel SPCA.
While working on hanging the August show, Wahlstrom commented the artists’ work in this show offered a
certain challenge in how best to display the pieces.
“But somehow it always comes together,” she said with a smile.
Dog Days of Summer hangs until Sept. 1 and the show is sponsored by South Quesnel Business Association.