Cat Art Took Over at Wellesley This Summer

cat on a leash next to sculpture in the Jewett Art Gallery
Batya Pearlstein visits the cat art exhibition in the Jewett Art Gallery. Sculpture (right) by Christian Meade. All photos by Samara Pearlstein.
This past summer, the Wellesley College Art Department exhibited A Cat May Look, the first exhibition of cat art at Wellesley in recent memory (and maybe ever!). A small survey of the cat in contemporary art, A Cat May Look was inspired in part by the old proverb "a cat may look at a king." Cats have long been symbols of this kind of confidence and equality, and they have had many different symbolic meanings throughout the course of art history and around the globe. The inherent character of cat, the relationships between people and cats, and the place of the cat in society and culture were all potential starting points for work in the show.
An open call for work resulted in an enormous number of submissions, with 22 artists ultimately selected for inclusion in the show. Exhibited works included painting, printmaking, photography, video, and sculpture of many kinds. Some pieces were examples of straightforward cat portraiture, as artists used different techniques to capture the essence of their feline companions. Other pieces relied more heavily on metaphor and abstraction, implying or referencing a cat or the concept of cat-ness without directly depicting it.
a cat painting by Catherine Kehoe
Olive, a painting by Catherine Kehoe.
a video piece by Meg Duguid
Box, a video piece by Meg Duguid.
a cat collage by Carl Vestweber
Family Tension, a collage piece by Carl Vestweber
Artists from across campus submitted work, with several members of the staff and faculty contributing pieces that made the final cut. There were also many artists who had no prior affiliation with the College but simply saw the call for work-- the exhibition thus brought many members of the local arts community to Wellesley College for the first time.
a stereoscope for viewing cat photos by Kimberley A Shaw
A stereoscope for viewing cat photos by Kimberley A Shaw of LTS
The show was featured in a Daily Shot article on July 26, 2017, and was reviewed in many places, including on Patch and in the Boston Globe. Curated by Samara Pearlstein and exhibited in the Jewett Art Gallery, A Cat May Look was on view from July 15 - August 10, 2017.
posted October 4, 2017



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