Ray Mark Rinaldi writes, "[Curator Armstrong] also brought into the show Denver artist Monique Crine’s series of exacting oil paintings of aging dogs. Working from photos she takes herself, Crine imbues her subjects with as much personality as a paintbrush can muster.
There’s a black lab named Idgie, caught with her tongue hanging out; a furry, floppy mix named Maddie whose brown eyes knowingly meet the gaze of the viewer. Each dog is accompanied by a statement about its unique charms and the joys it brought to caretakers over its lifetime.
Crine is a photorealist, and her paintings have a dual edge. In a recent show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, she displayed portraits of professional football players after their career had ended. The paintings depicted successful, content guys, enjoying their hard-earned fortunes. But viewers knew the whole story and brought that to the experience of seeing them: These guys were past their prime, former heroes now on the sidelines.
The same feelings arise looking at her old dogs, each from a very happy home. They had it all but they’ll soon be goners, just an unfortunate byproduct of their limited lifespan. The dogs are joyful, but we get increasingly sad as we take them in.
There is a genuine poignancy in the juxtaposition of Crine’s spoiled beauties and Johnstone’s forsaken pups, and it says more about humans than it does about dogs..."