|Ziggy, oil on canvas, 14x12", 2012|
Oh! You Pretty Things
May 17 to June 15, 2013
Opening Friday, May 17, 7 to 10pm
"Since its domestication in Egypt between 4000 and 3000 BC, the cat has been celebrated in art, as well as folktales and fables. Etruscan sculptors from 6th century BC, 18th century painter Jean Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, and contemporary artists Allison Schulnik and Gillian Carnegie have all drawn upon the cat for subject matter. Ancient Egyptians were so enamored with their feline friends that if a cat died in a home of a natural death, all of the inhabitants would shave their eyebrows in a sign of mourning. If one were to kill a cat either intentionally or unintentionally, they would be put to death. We no longer live in a time of such extremes, but the cat still holds its power over us. In 2010, Canadians owned eight-and-a-half million cats.
What interests me most is the cat’s status in the home. This series of 15 paintings -- culled from photographs collected after a request for pictures on Facebook -- focuses on house cats in domestic interiors. These small scale, representational works are meditations of space, time, colour and form and are a deliberate attempt at destabilizing the icons of modernism. Repeatedly deploying arrangements of fabric, furniture and architecture, this series is ultimately concerned with modes of inhabiting space and suggests a compressed urban environment. These are not paintings of urban hustle; rather they are oases of meditative calm and reflection. The banal subject of the ubiquitous family cat is transformed into images that celebrate the humility and comfort of our private lives."
– Todd Lambeth