Misato Sano’s Animal Sculptures Instill Compassion and Identity

"Misato Sano's Animal Sculptures Instill Compassion and Identity" - the title of this article is a perfect example of how people are inclined to adopt canine companions that resemble themselves or family members, and Misato Sano flips on its head. Rather than carve a pack of doggy doubles, the artist creates textured wooden sculptures of curly-haired poodles and acrobatic pugs imbued with different aspects of her own personality. Encompassing multiple breeds, expressions, and physical traits, each work is a self-portrait.
Misato Sano explains that she finds the form of dogs to be perfect for materializing what's in her mind and heart. She sees herself as being free, loving, and passionate like a dog is when it plays with another animal or human. Her work involves looking at herself unflinchingly while remaining mindful about how others might interpret them - not an easy task but one worth doing if they are honest representations of who she really is both inside and behind closed doors.
"For me, using the form of dogs is the most appropriate, highest-resolution method to materialize what I think of my inner self. Materializing myself in various states is about having an honest, direct dialogue with myself. In facing myself, I would like to be passionate, free, and loving, like a dog. My works are also about myself looking at myself. In that sense, I might have been making an existence that is sometimes beside myself, a little distance in other times, watching over myself." Sano told to Colossal.
The artist is based in the Tohoku region of Miyagi prefecture and spends her summers creating lively creatures with fur chiseled into visible gouges. As winter approaches she moves on to embroidery where cute faces are captured by plump tufts of thread. If you’re in Portland, check out this group exhibition running from August 14-29 at Gallery Nucleus, or take a peek through Instagram for glimpses into her process and some insight about what inspires these works - real-life pups!