The Cat’s Meow exhibit is currently showing in downtown Saskatoon at Bridges Art Movement. The exhibit is a mix of an ’80s aesthetic and cat-themed art and was curated by Andie Palynchuk, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
The BAM Art Collective gallery is now filled with brightly coloured and patterned artwork. There are also cats available for adoption on Saturdays while the show is open. The aesthetic of the exhibit was inspired by the aesthetic of the ’80s and ’90s.
Palynchuk describes the personal importance of the style of the exhibit.
“I love cats. I’m a huge cat fan, and the whole theme is like ’80s, ’90s retro inspired, and I like to geek out around that kind of ’80s style patterning. It’s just super nostalgic, because I’m an ’80s kid,” Palynchuk said.
The energy of the gallery is instantly mood-lifting. The art is bright, fun and visually interesting. The workers at the exhibit are happy and welcoming. And on top of all of that, there are kittens available for adoption on Saturdays, and Thursdays are “bring your own cat” days, though the slots are now mostly filled up.
“Animal rescue is something that I’m really passionate about, so partnering with SCAT seemed like a really good idea, and they were so into the idea,” Palynchuk said.
This show successfully combines art and animal rescue to great effect. When I attended the show, shortly after it opened, at least two of the four of the kittens had already been adopted.
For anyone familiar with Palynchuk’s work, this exhibit is quite different from what has been seen previously.
“Aesthetically, I’ve changed a lot, and I think, as an artist, that’s a really amazing thing, that we can just keep reinventing ourselves as many times as we want or feel like — whatever’s serving us in that year, that moment, that decade,” Palynchuk said.
While drastically different from her previous art, this exhibit is just as visually interesting. The space has a dynamic aesthetic appeal that is quite different from many galleries. There is, of course, also the added benefit of the kittens. There are cat toys and a cat jungle gym, so viewers are able to play with the animals.
The show is interactive in a very unique way, and Palynchuk finds this type of interactive artwork to be more fulfilling than traditional gallery artwork.
“Creating art like this is super fun and [fulfills] me in a completely different way than doing something meticulous like features on a face would,” Palynchuk said.
As an artist in Saskatoon, Palynchuk is aware of the challenges that face artists.
“I think that the biggest challenge that, as creators, we face is just those lulls where we’re maybe not creating, and there’s a lot associated with that. I think that we get down on ourselves that we’re not creating — we’re already down, and that’s probably the reason why we’re not creating. So during those lower slumps, I think it’s really important to still remember to play.”
This show is fun and dynamic, the perfect bright spot right before finals season. It is also working towards an important goal, providing homes for animals. The final showing is Dec. 1, and if you take the time to see this exhibit, you will leave with a smile on your face.
Amber Adrian Jackson
Photos: Riley Deacon / Photo Editor