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Richard Trinder
Managing Editor
@richardtrinder
11:00 PM 10th May 2024
arts

Mutts At The Mercer

 
David Remfry at the Mercer. Photo by Phil Adams Photography
David Remfry at the Mercer. Photo by Phil Adams Photography
Mutts at the Mercer, more properly entitled We Think the World of You, People and Dogs Drawn Together is the latest exhibition at the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate. It is a gorgeous collection of mostly line drawings with a splash of watercolour by British artist David Remfry (MBE RA, no less).

Remfry was born in 1942 and studied art and printmaking at the Hull College of Art. Since 1973, he has exhibited at galleries and museums across the UK, Europe and the USA, and he was made an MBE in 2001 for services to British art in America. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2006 and a decade later he was appointed professor of drawing at the Royal Academy Schools.

Michael Antonio Pequez and Dino. Photo by Marcus Leith
Michael Antonio Pequez and Dino. Photo by Marcus Leith
The artist started a series of drawings 15 years ago in New York when Remfry began to explore the relationships between friends and their dogs through evocative pencil and watercolour portraits. Among the sitters are well-known faces including Alan Cumming and his rescue dog Honey, Susan Sarandon and her Pomeranians, and Ethan Hawke with his dog Nina.

Geoffrey Firth and Rocco. Photo by Christopher Burke
Geoffrey Firth and Rocco. Photo by Christopher Burke
With great simplicity of line and a just a splash of watercolour here and there Remfry captures three subjects in each painting; the sitter, the dog, and the relationship between the two.

La Tasha Simmons and Kahlua. Photo Marcus Leith
La Tasha Simmons and Kahlua. Photo Marcus Leith
If you do visit, take a look the pictures of Teddy and Jim and see how David Remfry has captured a moment between a man and his dog. Without the slightest hint of cheesyness, or even a smile, we can easily imagine the comprehensive dialogue and deep affection flowing between the two. And all that is captured in just a few lines on a page. What a talent.

I strongly recommend a visit to the exhibition. I found it charming, amusing and heart warming.

We Think the World of You, People and Dogs Drawn Together continues at the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate from 11th May until 29th September 2024.

Meet the Artist: David Remfry will be ‘In Conversation’ at the Mercer Gallery on Wednesday 17th July, discussing the inspirations behind this project and other aspects of his work with artist and curator Courtney Spencer. Tickets available from museums.harrogate@northyorks.gov.uk

Doggie Sundays: Enjoy a rare opportunity to visit the gallery with your canine companion! Dogs are welcome on Sundays, until 29th September.

Children’s Activities: The Mercer Gallery is organising fun things to do in the Mercer – add a picture of your favourite dog to their paw-trait wall, read some dog-themed stories, and try their ‘299 Dogs’ jigsaw. Details are here.