I was commissioned by The Trova Project to write descriptions of works by the American abstract expressionist artist Ernest Trova. In homage to the artist’s own famously enigmatic and playful nature, the resulting descriptions were designed to create as many questions as they answered. This artwork is one example.
White Dog, c. 1955. Ernest Trova (American, 1927–2009). Casein and latex on board.
This yawning—or growling—creature on a fiery background hung above the friendly clutter of curios in Trova’s home. The artist toys with the stuff of mythology by way of amalgamation; a dog’s haunches, head and mouth are here blended with a pig’s cloven hooves and translucent pink ears. Yet while a mythical omni-creature like the Egyptian Sphinx is typically composed of animals with regal or powerful connotations—the lion, eagle, or human—the dog and pig are plain, familiar and entirely domesticated.