Friday, January 4, 2013

Our Darling

Our Darling
And here it is.... the first piece out of the Art Lair in 2013!
It is entitled Our Darling, which are the words engraved on a small silver plaque that I found at an antique store. I'm going to place it on the bottom of the black frame (which isn't in the photo).  The plaque is from a child's coffin.
Left Wing Art Gallery and Tattoo Parlour is having an exhibition called Bones, and I prepared this shadowbox for the show.  My friend Roni gave me the cat skull as part of a special loot bag full of found objects, which she presented to me at her "I'm Getting the Hell Out of This One-Horse Town and Moving to Toronto" Party.  The shadowbox itself is the shell of Victory, which I made last year for my exhibition Sacred & Profane.  It wasn't one of my better pieces, so I repurposed it. 
Our Darling turned out better than I thought it would.  I love it when that happens.
The cat tag, hung on a strand of pearls, is from the collar of my dear departed Siamese cat, Nicholas (who was also known as Nuke).
For those of us pet-lovers, the loss of a furry friend is devastating.  I've had so many cats over the years that I forget all their names, but I still remember crying for every single on of them when they died.  Cats love us unconditionally (as long as you have food).  Each has their own personality.  You get to know what each 'meow' means.  They are creatures of habit and follow their own schedules.  They are elusive and single-minded.  If your cat wants out at 5am, you can't talk him out of it.
But nothing beats curling up on the couch with a blanket and the remote and a purring cat.
Our Darling is my homage to all the pets I've loved in my life.  With their personality quirks (my cat Angus doesn't like to go downstairs in the dark, for example), some cats become favourite family members.  Inspired by their human traits, I gave Our Darling a Victorian-inspired dress and hat, and posed her as a woman having her picture taken at a portrait studio. 
I am definitely a cat lover, but I loved a dog once, way back in my dysfunctional past.  His name was Radar.  He was officially a duck-hunting dog, but to me, he was a sweet golden labrador retriever and one of my best friends.  One summer day, my dad shot him. I dearly wish that I could say that it was an accident, but the dysfunction in my family runs deep.  Tragically, Radar became a pawn in a power play.  I think I was ten years old.  I haven't had a dog since.
As my nod to Radar, the tie-backs for the black curtains in Our Darling are golden, and the tassels are bullet casings.
Our Darling is Cinnamon, Xerxes, Narnia, Chico, Comet, Gracious, Nicholas, Lucy, Labatt, Alpine, Schooner, and the many other cats and 3 budgies and one dog that have brought joy into my life. 
May they rest in peace.