"Golden Fleece #48" by Carolyn Letvin

On exhibit: Animals in art

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, March 19-April 18

“In the 1950s, the pet was consigned to the yard,” LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Emeritus Peter Haynes once wrote. “By the 1960s, the pet had been allowed in the house; by the 1970s, the pet was allowed to sleep in the bedroom; now they may even be under the blankets.”

Animals are so beloved that their colorful images also hold pride of place on living room and museum walls. That’s the idea behind the vet school’s International Exhibition on Animals in Art, launched in 1987 to let the school community share its passion and respect for animals with the public in a unique way.

The latest call for entries attracted 381 works from 203 artists in Canada, Israel and 38 U.S. states. Works from 75 artists were selected for presentation; one will be honored with a $1,000 Best of Show award, and one will grace the cover of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

On display will be two- and three-dimensional works made using media ranging from oils and bronze to fish skin and tiger-eye alabaster. Even dried Solenopsis invicta, aka red fire ants, are used for art’s sake.

“There’s quite a connection with our fellow fauna, be it spiritually, emotionally or physically,” says exhibition juror Jonathan Meyers. “While we use images of them for symbolic meaning, one must also understand that we are also their caretakers, no matter how strong they are.”

A free opening reception will take place at 6 p.m. March 19. The exhibition, held in collaboration with the LSU School of Art, will run through April 18 during regular SVM library hours. The artworks will be available for purchase, with commission proceeds benefitting vet school programs.