Dogs in Space

The last time we saw a dog fly was when we threw a Hebrew National at Carl Everett's head. Seriously, we aren't foolish enough to waste a good cell phone and be completely conspicuous. Nevertheless, we had never seen a Scottish terrier fly until Michael McWillie came along, paintbrush in hand.

The native Texan, who agrees with the notion that the Scottish terrier is to him what the Tramp was to Chaplin, paints animals with humanistic characteristics. Scot McWillie, the terrier that recurs in the Defying Gravity exhibit, is a bit like the artist's doggy alter ego. The canine could be smoking a cigar or flying over the White House, but in each painting Scot allegedly confronts the great mysteries of life and its ultimate end.

We're not sure if this counts as confronting life or death, but McWillie was commissioned to paint the first dog, Barney, for Laura Bush, and his work now hangs in her private office in the White House. This, of course, means that the Betty Anne Smith Galleries, where McWillie is on display, will have one less dog barking and no Bush homage, and that's unfortunate since Barney's the one Bush we support getting artistic reverence.

Obviously a hot commodity in the world of "arf art," McWillie also has been selected by the American Humane Association to paint the poster design for their Adopt A Dog Month. If it really is dog eat dog out there, McWillie's doing his damnedest to help out a best friend or two.

The artist promotes his pooches in person at the opening, so stop by and throw him a bone. Or at least give a terrier the once over.