Wednesday 2 September 2020


A few months ago I responded to an "open call" opportunity that was listed in Curator Space, a newsletter that provides information and opportunities for artists. Although most of these opportunities are more relevant to UK artists, some are international, and others (like this one) was online so anyone could apply. The open call was specific: artists must have a sense of humour, an interest in playing with scale, and their work must fit through the curator's letterbox. The curator of Tiny Cat Gallery is designer/artist Lisa Cole and the gallery is a cardboard box organised, invigilated and frequented by tiny plastic cats. Cole was responsible for all onsite photography and Instagram posting. She can be followed (as herself) on instagram @lisa_cole_designer and (as gallery curator)

I often make miniature work when coming up with new ideas - sketches, paintings, collages - so I looked through my own recent oeuvre to come up with a theme and suitable small work that would appear huge in the gallery. I applied for an exhibition and was accepted. My teen, who is obsessed with cats despite allergies, has a number of tiny plastic cats, so we chose one to send as an ambassador along with the work.

I sent enough work to fit on the box/gallery walls, but I forgot to take into account that one wall would not be used as a space since it was necessary for Ms Cole to access the gallery in order to take photographs for instagram posts. So Shore I and

Shore II were not actually included in the exhibition. All works, however feature on Lisa Cole's website, here.

Before I posted my package to Bristol (where the physical gallery is) I photographed the work and Ms Cole produced an invitation for the online exhibition.

The exhibition was for one week and the launch party on the Sunday afternoon was an indication of the fun that would be had with the work and the cats all week. Narratives accompanied each instagram post (at least four daily). In this one the cats are discussing the nature of "liminality" as a follow-up to their earlier dream discussion...

As my see-through cat ambassador embodied liminality, it put on a performance channelling Tilda Swinton's "The Maybe". For more information about Swinton's performance, have a peek here and here. My ambassador, Lucky, chose to perform between my two silk fibre pieces, Star Cloud and Narcissus. For more information on how I made these pieces during a Zoom papermaking workshop, have a look here.
 One of Monday's instagram posts featured Shore III and Shore IV, working well as a diptych, as well as Star Cloud and Narcissus.

Several artists from previous exhibitions at Tiny Cat Gallery had devised workshops related to their work, and I was no exception. The point of my workshop was to explore colour, shape and luminosity. I took a photo of the items needed for the workshop and posted "how-to" details on Thursday morning. Tiny Cat Gallery made a poster advert for the workshop and re-posted details for both the tiny cat visitors and for anyone following along on Instagram.

The tiny cats had some playful pre-workshop moments...

 and created their own "liminal" painting.
On the Friday, one of the posts featured Branches II & III as a diptych taking up an entire wall of the gallery. I have had both solo and group exhibitions in various countries over the past 35 years, but I can easily say this was the most fun and most engaging exhibition of my career!

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