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Cats, Westerns, and War at SooVAC

Donald Morgan: <i>Broken Windows</i> and <i>Cow Pie with Mushrooms</i> 

Donald Morgan: Broken Windows and Cow Pie with Mushrooms 

The International Cat Video Festival is two months away, but if you're looking for your cute cat fix sooner than that, head on over to Soo Visual Arts Center, where you'll see plenty of kitties and art as part of Kelly O'Brien's "Kulture High" show. There's also a cat painting by Donald Morgan in his exhibition, "Black and Yellow." Oddly, the kitty theme that has emerged from the two artists wasn't a planned synchronicity. Maybe it's something about SooVAC's new location that inspires like-thinking. In any case, if you're a cat lover, this is the show for you.

See also:

Take a Tour of the New SooVAC Space

O'Brien's "Kulture High" is basically an intro to contemporary art course with cats. Her tongue-in-cheek sculptures and mixed-media works take the viewer on a crash course of pop and contemporary art, guided by cats who express their viewpoint on each art trend. Cat vs. Minimalism, for example, consists of two paintings: one a minimalist green work, the other of a cat looking at said painting with a judgmental expression. In Abstract Expressionism BAD! a cat looks on fearfully toward a larger painting with nylons wrapped around it. 

Kelly O'Brien: <i>Abstract Expressionism Bad!</i> 

Kelly O'Brien: Abstract Expressionism Bad! 

The pieces are filled with spandex, glitter, duct tape, and the like. The cats run the gamut of emotions as O'Brien pokes fun at art that takes itself too seriously. With titles like Metallic Aggression and Hierarchical Stereotypes, she embraces the art world as a cat would, celebrating the shiny bits and disparaging the rest. 

Morgan's "Black and Yellow" exhibition also includes a mysterious cat gazing out at the viewer. The piece, Broken Windows, is made of acrylic and enamel on an acrylic laminate painted over board. Morgan's series of work finds inspiration from the Western genre, specifically Robert Coover's postmodern novel Ghost Town. The yellow minimalist sculptures and paintings evoke a pared-down Western aesthetic, one that might exist in a psychedelic dream. 

Morgan's other series of work draws on Tim O'Brien's Vietnam War novel The Things They Carried. Here you'll notice the ever-present bullet holes in a number of the black pieces, as well as one work where Morgan created a pattern of black rain. In some ways, Morgan goes in the opposite direction from O'Brien's writing, which is both deeply funny and heartbreaking. Morgan's body of work is more detached, though the horror of war lies underneath the formal structure. 

IF YOU GO:

"Black and Yellow: Work by Donald Morgan" and "Kulture High: Work by Kelly O'Brien"

June 6 through July 18

The opening reception is this Saturday, June 6, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Soo Visual Arts Center

2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis