Over the years I have often ogled over the exhibitions and workshops advertised in Prema’s four-monthly timetable, which somehow lingers around the kitchen table long after it is out of date. But the small art space in Uley seemed so out of the way and the workshops always seemed to conflict with either my finances or with my other commitments, and so I was never able to experience as much as I had wanted.
I heard about Tamany Baker’s exhibition in the newsletter several months ago and made a note to myself to visit. Living with Wolfie seemed such an exciting project, transforming the ‘gifts’ from her cat Wolfie into shrines which are reminiscent of the ways in which Victorians decorate photographs of loved ones with locks of hair or seasonal flowers. Encased in identical bronze painted frames and grouped in threes and fours along the corridors and seating area, the photographs provided a trail throughout the exhibition as if stalking a path of destruction. This collaboration between artist and feline results in some stunning imagery, featuring macabre corpses arranged and photographed with such delicate attention that they are transformed from something squeamish to something astonishingly beautiful.
During my visit I was also able to see the oversized paintings of Colossal Cats by Angela Lizon, a series of incredibly intense images based transforming posters of kitsch kittens into something substantial. The result is something not unlike unease. The humour of pedigree cats dressed in little wigs or headdresses lost, creating something quite disturbing and, perhaps overall, bizarre.