I hope you are keeping yourself healthy, safe, and well during these most uncertain times, and that your spirits continue to be lifted by family and friends. We are finding the spring of 2020 to be unlike anything anyone of us could have imagined and nothing like what we expected.
Last December as I was finalizing the gallery’s programming for this year, I had a completely different plan for the spring season’s exhibitions. I was envisioning historicized shows inspired by themes of the political landscape of 1989 and the economic climate of 1968. However, these past two months have been a time of much-needed introspection—I discovered that I allowed myself to get caught up in self-serving hype of comparative critique of the present to the not-so-distant past. Focusing on this, and what I now see as solely recontextualized retelling of times that have been, I came to the conclusion that, lo and behold, history can in fact repeat itself.
As I researched further into these familiar histories, I questioned certain ideologies behind arguments and whether these conversations would benefit from another updated contemporary spin. Watching the world events unfold leading up to the 2020 PAUSE/quarantine situation in New York City, I was reminded that I established Top Cat to foster the careers of artists whose work speaks to both formal and socio-political aspects of the new and the now. In addition, I started Top Cat as a step towards creating a nonprofit foundation focusing on facilitating art therapy resources through outlets of art education, theory, and practice. If capital A Art is about anything, it is about caring—the active concern for and about others; whether that be embedded in an artist's practice or the practice of Art itself.
During the synthesis of this month's exhibition, the work selected took several directions, and in the end the works on display come from a selection of artists and friends whose work highlights the idea of artwork as a caring practice. At such a somber time, and with such sensitive subject matter, many institutions are wondering how to take the next first step. How do we approach the present sensibly and with heartfelt intentions? At risk of letting history repeat itself again, should we not try making a better present for all with our actions instead?
It is more true now than ever before that the show must go on.
Top Cat is absolutely thrilled to present Reflections on Spring: an Online Exhibition in 3 Parts.
— May 15th 2020
~ T.C. 😸
With a mirror reflection, we sometimes get caught up in the surface tension between what we see in the glass and what we want reflected back to us—however, it helps to not forget we can always hold a mirror up ourselves to also question any surface. In a similar vein, we must be sure to both look and see what reflections hold for us. The following artists engage this tension head-on with empathic results, often speaking more about the art of being human than the art of production.
Precious Onyx from Detritus: Sacred Flesh
"The photographs are examples of the end results of body processes as well as processes that we as organic bodies are bound by."
Home Sweet Home
"...every revolution a recycling
of the early into later,
the now into soon. ..."
Pictorial Representation from Eyes To Swallow With
"...the prints also begin to point sideways at the habitability of pictures. In that context, the image in question is the most literal and least pictorial of all images in the set, but I don’t really think the piece benefits from that text on its own as a single image."
"I found the contrast between the plaster and the wall fascinating. Like galaxies or millions of tiny lakes."
For Whoever Wants It And Deserves It
"For Whoever Wants It And Deserves It is an essayistic video piece featuring photography, text, and archival family footage accumulated by Kat Shannon. The autobiographical text narrates the piece, offering reflections on Shannon's memory and its relationship between still and moving imagery."
Guidelines, Pennsylvania, 2017
"I was ready to leave when I noticed how the sun was setting and changing the interior of the main entry. I liked how it transformed into a various paths of light and shadow. It makes me think about how many paths there are to take; some overlap, some combine, some nullify each other. Questions and thoughts that can really never be answered."
"What makes me so passionate about filmmaking and photography in general is the ability to pass along and perpetuate stories. There are so many interesting things and people out there, I feel it is part of my duty to capture these into films or images understood by many more."
For Whoever Wants It And Deserves It, 2019-2020