This artwork is part of Ways of Seeing, a partnership between Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and the Government Art Collection. Ways of Seeing turns the borough into a gallery with 33 internationally renowned artists displayed in 28 unexpected locations.
Can cats be good for your health? According to scientific research, they can. Children who share their home with a cat have a lower risk of developing asthma, for example. Studies have also found that owning a cat – or dog – can reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Maria Farrar’s painting invites you to share a quiet moment with Cat, as you wait. The cat sits with its back to us, almost blending into its surroundings. There is no furniture in the room. Perhaps it has been erased by all the white. Will the cat be the next to disappear?
Farrar has compared her approach to kanji, which is Japanese writing using Chinese characters. In this tradition, written signs start out looking like the object they refer to but become more abstract over time. The artist has said the painting is not about how the cat looks, but about how it makes us feel.
Maria Farrar was born in the Philippines, grew up in Japan, and now lives and works in London. She gained a BFA in Fine Art from the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, and an MFA in Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, London.
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