Monday, March 17, 2008

Artist Studio 3

When I look at Kirsty Gardiner’s delicately wrought porcelain cat sculptures I think of Ancient Egypt, gods and pharoahs’ tombs. Cats were first domesticated in Ancient Egypt 4,000 years ago and they were a revered and sacred animal. Brought up a Catholic , Kirsty, who now lives in rural Wairarapa, north of Wellington, has an amazing ability to imbue her works with all the religious mysticism, beliefs, symbols and tribal rites that coloured her own upbringing in South Africa; yet at the same time, there’s humour there that I love. Kirsty admits that her recent series “Fetish for the Feline Form” tends to polarise viewers – “they’re either fascinated and enthralled, or repulsed and disturbed.” Her tall, slender, totemic felines on the other hand exude a strong, silent, almost eerie beauty filled with secrets. It seems to me, that Kirsty’s use of the feline form to convey very human characteristics and emotions plays right into our willingness - our need almost – to attribute our pets with human qualities. Photographs by Heather Busch, Featherston.

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