Thanks to Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat and other viral cat videos, furry felines have become the recent hipster chic. Students of Mount Allison University’s fine arts department have chosen to celebrate the feline form in the new exhibition “Catville,” which opened March 12 in the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts.
Organized by current third-year fine arts students, “Catville” features the cat – our domesticated companion and internet meme – as muse; paying homage, through both humour and pensiveness, to the mysterious world of cats.
Comprised of both student and faculty contributors, the large-scale group show offers a variety of styles and perspectives. Many of the pieces evoke a sense of sentimentality and affection, both toward specific family pets and the feline species general.
The show featured several pieces that situated cats within the family unit. For example, Jillian Gooch’s A Family Portrait consists of three locks of hair: two human and one cat, and Christine Lawrence’s piece Purrrfect Graduation depicts a student in ceremonial convocation robes, holding two cats.
However, not all of the cats are typically fluffy and adorable. The show also examines the paradox between cats’ cute outward appearance and inward capacity for wickedness (or at least sofa destruction.)
Allison Willms’s piece Scabs of Affection, for example, depicts a girl with a trickle of blood running from a wound on her lip. Meanwhile, Kevin Melanson’s Missing Cat does not even portray a cat, but rather a section of telephone pole surrounded by blank space which evokes the relatable feeling of losing a beloved pet.
“Catville” draws its real appeal from its healthy sense of humour; the show is whimsical, quirky and more than a little cheeky. Moreover, it brings art enthusiasts and animal lovers together in a comfortable, accessible environment. Undoubtedly, cat and dog lovers alike will enjoy the many dynamic portrayals of the well-loved animal friends, which offer amusing, thoughtful insight into lives and psychology of our furry friends.
“Catville” will be on display at the PCCA until March 26.