11th May – 30 June 2024

Opening party on Saturday 11th May 12-3pm, all welcome.

Kicking off the summer in feline style at Redcar Palace, Feline-Thropic explores the human cat relationship through time. Archaeologists have discovered cat paw prints in 2,000 year old Roman roof tiles, historians have uncovered inky paws wandering across 15th century manuscripts and artists and philosophers have imagined what this relationship might look like in another 2,000 years. These two moments of deep time serve as a mirror to the intense connection we share with our feline friends where humans can make careers by posing videos of cats on social media and shelves buckle under the weight of cat mementos (that is until one of our cat friends knocks them off onto the floor). Our days are filled with their antics and our night with the haunting sounds of cats singing the songs of their people. Alongside invited artists Feline-Thropic will feature newly commissioned tributes to Teesside cats past and present. The “Open Calls not Cat Calls” wall in our second gallery space will invite anyone who has created a picture of a cat to bring it along and install it for the duration of the exhibition whilst the “Cat Tat” space will explore the material culture of our cat obsession in collaboration with Blooming Youth Collective and local animal charities.

Invited artists include Yelena Popova whose large scale tapestry “Hunting Scene with Ray Cat” re-imagines medieval tapestries through the lens of contemporary philosophers who have asked how future humans will know the location of this era’s nuclear waste. The obvious answer… genetically modified cats. Edek’s Thompson’s “Catastrophic Tipping Point” likewise engages in some future gazing to imagine our future relationship with felines in the post-climate change world. The work builds upon Edek’s highly successful solo show at Redcar Palace last year. Jacasta Solomons’ painting filters contemporary, pop art inspired imagery that also harks back to the compositional styles of early Renaissance artists such as Fra Angelico and their modern reinterpretation by artists such as Giorgio de Chirico. Her large scale painting ‘Your Go’  introduces the idea of gaming into the exhibition with a giant depiction of a cats and dogs based game of noughts and crosses. This is shown alongside her characterful portraits of her family’s pets from North Yorkshire. The idea of games is further developed by Louisa Creed who will present a set of playing cards that she designed depicting different cats in her life and how they relate to one another. Louisa is a doyenne of British rag rug making and was an inspiration for the contemporary revival of the art form. One of her large format cat based rag rugs will also be included in the exhibition. Britney Fraser will continue our ongoing exploration of the rag rug genre through newly commissioned work featuring her iconic text based ruggery. And if this is not enough to sate your furrball appetites, WhichCraft? Ladies, our resident crafting group, will be taking over our honesty shop space ensuring cat crafts to meet all needs. Other invited artists include Tanya Bentham; Ben Sadler; Robyn Cove; Bill Dawson; Heidi and Peter Hodgson; Heather Lamborn and others.

Open Calls not Cat Calls

We are also extending our invitation to exhibit to all of you. If you have a drawing, painting, collage, pastel, potato print, embroidery, felted cat-hair portrait, decoupaged or any other picture of a cat that you have made then you are welcome to bring it in to install for the duration of the exhibition. There will be no selection criteria and if you can get it here we will show it with just the following exceptions:

  • We can only accept 2d work (unfortunately)
  • You must be able to bring the work and take it away again at the end of the exhibition.
  • This is a family friendly exhibition so we will not be able to show anything we deem offensive or containing profanities.

Please check our social media channels for more information about getting the work to us.

Cat Tat

But what if you don’t have a cat picture you have made yourself? Our young people’s group Blooming Youth Collective are curating a section of the exhibition called Cat Tat, prowling around our local charity shops to source the finest (and sometimes worst) examples of cat ornamentation, objects and gewgaws. Do you have something that you would like to contribute? If so, bring it along and we’ll display it in our cabinets. At the end of the exhibition you can either take the object back with you or leave it with us to be sold off in support of local animal charities.