Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cats in Art: Expectations--Australia Series (Garbutt)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  

I have a loved one who lives in Eureka, CA, and works at the Humboldt Arts Council in the Morris Graves Museum of Art.  So...I perused the on-line images held by the Morris Graves Museum of Art and came up with 3 works containing cats that I will feature today and over the next 2 weeks.

Here's what the museum website says about their mission:

Museum art collections represent the nation’s patrimony and heritage, and the Humboldt Arts Council is conscious that we are entrusted with a resource that essentially belongs to the whole community— it’s yours to enjoy!

Collecting works of art is one of the most basic undertakings of an art museum. Moreover, what the museum collects strongly determines its overall character and influence in the art community at large. As a consequence, the Humboldt Arts Council in the Morris Graves Museum of Art is founded upon the principles of ethical art collecting and stewardship. The Museum recognizes that it holds for posterity a significant portion of our cultural wealth.  The Morris Graves Museum of Art is dedicated to the arts and artists of the Pacific Northwest with the highest priority given to the works of our patron artist, Morris Graves. Emphasis is placed on collecting art which builds on the evolving strengths of the collection and which also have a significant potential for long-term usefulness. 

With that intro, here's a very entertaining image:

Image credit Humboldt Arts Council in the Morris Graves Museum of Art, Peggy Jane Garbutt, 1981, Expectations--Australia series, serigraph, silkscreen, size unspecified.

I've always been a sucker for images of animals wearing clothes, especially cats, since that concept is so absolutely alien to them.  But we like it, so that's why such things persist.   

In this image we see several animals in the casual contact enforced by air travel (must be first class due to the spacious accommodations!?).  I just love the dozing, contemplative expression of the yellow tabby in the gray suit, so I assume the artist has a great deal of familiarity with cats.

Or perhaps she has a great deal of familiarity with air travel, and the animals represent various archetypes of travelers.

Regardless, Ms. Garbutt was able to translate her understanding into a wonderful image that evokes on the part of the viewer not only thought, but appreciation for the imagination of the artist.

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