By Jeffrey Stern
Climbing the steep pitches, he’s faster than me. Four-wheel (er, leg) drive naturally makes it easier. When the trail flattens and turns into flowy singletrack, we’re about dead even; it’s as if I’m riding with someone who has the same climbing skills as me. When it comes to the technical, ripping downhills, I tend to drop him. But in his world, it’s all good. His tongue almost always touches the ground and his grin is most definitely from ear to floppy ear at every trail intersection, where he’s been taught to stop and wait to receive further route directions.
I’ve learned many lessons from the five dogs I’ve been lucky to have over the course of my thirty-plus years on this planet. They’ve taught me that no matter what happens in life, happiness is actually much simpler than I ever make it out to be. Just sitting, letting the sun warm my face with positive thoughts, is one of the best feelings in life. I learned that from just observing my dogs basking in the afternoon sunlight.
On the trails, these feelings are exuberated. Together, we release all this positive energy out into the world with shouts (or barks in his case) around every bend, through each swooping singletrack section and in the form of high-fives, tailwags and the excited circling of my bike and I when we come to full stop to adjust something. I’m never quick enough to his liking.
My dog reminds me to never forget what it means to just play for the fun of it. “Why do we need to be serious all the time?,” his eyes say to me in not so many words, or any at all. Feeling the joy of life, mountain biking, the great outdoors, unexpected encounters, new trails and adventures is our shared goal. I’m unsure if I could ask for anything more.
Over the years, my dogs have been the one thing constant in the ever changing landscape that is life, school, work and more. Whether it be a cloudy fall morning or a rainy winter day, dogs always shine with all of their light, all of the time. They’re never down in the dumps, unless I am too, and they’re quick to change my attitude and perspective on things. If you’re happy, jump for joy; they’ve always taught me to not hold onto my feelings, it’s fine to be myself even during the times I don’t actually feel like my normal self, physically or mentally.
What’s always been the quickest fix? A mountain bike ride. Nothing washes away my “problems” like a ride. Adding a dog or two is simply icing on the cake.
Mountain biking with my best friend; it doesn’t get any better for me and if I’m good enough at reading his signs, it’s one of his favorite things too. Always go for a ride and bring your dog too; you won’t regret it and they’ll love you all the more for allowing them to share the experience with you.
Leave all your worries behind and collect only the important things from the trail, too.
Like what you see? Please support independent publishing by Subscribing To Dirt Rag Magazine today.
Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (Italian: Dinamismo di un cane al guinzaglio), sometimes called Dog on a Leash or Leash in Motion, is a 1912 painting by Italian Futurist painter Giacomo Balla. It was influenced by the artist's fascination with chronophotographic studies of animals in motion. It is considered one of his best-known works, and one of the most important works in Futurism, though it received mixed critical reviews. The painting has been in the collection of the Albright–Knox Art Gallery since 1984.
Description and context
The painting depicts a dachshund on a leash and the feet of a lady walking it, both in rapid motion as indicated by the blurring and multiplication of their parts.
Chronophotographic studies of animals in motion, created by scientist Étienne-Jules Marey beginning in the 1880s, led to the introduction in painting of techniques to show motion, such as blurring, multiplication, and superimposition of body parts—perhaps in an effort to imitate these mechanical images. Such multiplication can be see in Marcel Duchamp'sNude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, painted the same year as Balla's painting.
Balla's interest in capturing a single moment in a series of planes was inspired by his fascination with chronophotography. In later, more abstract works created during World War I, Balla used planes of color to suggest movement.
The decomposition of movement into moments in time which Balla created in Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash likely inspired the photodynamic technique of Futurist photographer Anton Giulio Bragaglia.
The painting was exhibited in the Galerie Der Sturm's Autumn Salon in Berlin from September to December 1913, accompanied by a photograph. It was sold by the artist in 1938 to the industrialist Anson Conger Goodyear. Upon his death in 1964, Goodyear bequeathed the painting jointly to his son, George F. Goodyear, with a life interest, and to the Albright–Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. The gallery acquired the painting in December 1984.
In 1943, artist Cornelia Geer LeBoutiller criticized the painting, comparing it unfavorably with Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase (a work with which it is often compared) and Picasso's Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, calling Balla's work "more crude, less mature, almost childish indeed ... Balla takes himself and his dog so seriously, so studiedly, that it is doubtful that any pleasure has ever come out of it anywhere; certainly no movement has." Writing in 1947, critic Henry R. Hope called Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash "a cliché of modern art". Writer Geoffrey Wagner declared Balla's painting to be anathema to the Vorticist aesthetic of British painter Wyndham Lewis, who criticized Futurism for its "romantic excess" and dynamism. However, S. I. Hayakawa credited Balla's "classic" for its introduction of the time dimension in its representation of its subject.
In 2009, art critic Tom Lubbock considered the painting "one of the most striking" chronophotography-inspired works, pointing to several features which create a comical effect: the "abrupt close-up" on a trivial subject—a "twee prim sausage dog"—which might have been a single detail in an Impressionist street scene; the bathetic juxtaposition of the word dynamism, "with its connotations of heroism, of the mighty modern machine world" against that subject; the cropping of the owner at the knee, giving a dog's view (and anticipating Tom and Jerry cartoons); and the apparently frenetic motion of the dog's limbs and tail coupled with the stillness of its body, suggesting little forward progress. Lubbock describes Balla's motion effects as "creating new sensations and new phenomena", and evoking the motion of shuffling cards and the embodiment of ghosts.
In 2014, art critic Robert C. Morgan declared Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, along with Gino Severini's paintings Blue Dancer and Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin, to be "probably the most elegant and accurate works ever painted in the Futurist tradition." He credits these works with "moving status into kinesis, stillness into motion, and thus giving life to culture, bringing it back from the bucolic ornaments of the 19th century."
A 2002 research paper on machine vision by computer scientists Roman Goldenberg, Ron Kimmel, Ehud Rivlin, and Michael Rudzsky used Futurism's techniques of motion, as embodied by Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, to illustrate the mathematical representation of periodic motion using a small number of eigenshapes.
- ^ abcd"Dinamismo di un cane al Guinzaglio, 1912". Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- ^ abcHayakawa, S. I. (Summer 1947). "The Revision of Vision: A Note on the Semantics of Modern Art". ETC: A Review of General Semantics. 4 (4): 258–267. JSTOR 42581524.
- ^Greer, Thomas H. (January 1969). Music and it's Relation to Futurism, Cubism, Dadaism, and Surrealism: 1905 to 1950(PDF) (PhD dissertation). North Texas State University. p. 16. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- ^ abcdefghLubbock, Tom (3 September 2009). "Great Works: Dynamism of A Dog on a Leash (1912) Giacomo Balla". The Independent. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- ^ abcd"Important Art and Artists of Futurism". The Art Story. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- ^ ab"Giacomo Balla". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- ^ abLeBoutillier, Cornelia Geer (Fall 1943). "Art as Communication"(PDF). Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 2 (8): 75–84. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- ^ abHope, Henry R. (Winter 1947–48). "Black Magic and Modern Art". College Art Journal. 7 (2): 116–120. doi:10.2307/772677. JSTOR 772677.
- ^ abcWagner, Geoffrey (September 1954). "Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticist Aesthetic". The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 13 (1): 11. doi:10.2307/427013. JSTOR 427013.
- ^ abMorgan, Robert C. (14 March 2014). "Italian Futurism, or the Lessons of Art and Politics". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- ^Bossaglia, Rossana (1990). Astrattismo (in Italian). Giunti Editore. p. 19. ISBN 9788809761476. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- ^Berghaus, Günter (21 May 2014). International Yearbook of Futurism Studies 2014. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 312. ISBN 9783110334104. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- ^Caws, Mary Ann (1 December 2000). Manifesto: A Century of Isms. Bison Books. p. xxx. ISBN 9780803264236. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- ^Goldenberg, Roman; Kimmel, Ron; Rivlin, Ehud; Rudzsky, Michael (May 2002). "`Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash' or Behavior Classification by Eigen-decomposition of Periodic Motions"(PDF). Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Computer Vision: 461–475. Retrieved 20 July 2016.