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Item Name: Painting
Title: Best Wishes Cat
Maker: Grace Holyer
Year: 1995
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil, fingernail polish on canvas
Measurements: overall: 30 cm x 40.5 cm
ID Number: PC96.6

Extended Label Info: An Expressionistic artist and poet, Grace Rose Holyer uses methods of intuition and stream of conscious to develop intensely personal imagery. She often uses distorted organic shapes, animals and figures to expresses her inner emotions. In this painting, the “Best Wishes Cat” smiles with a large, human grin similar to that of the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. In the book, Carroll’s Cheshire Cat tells Alice that everyone is crazy, even Alice herself. In this painting, the cat is looking up at a red bird in the nearby bush. The white cat contrasts strongly with the rich purples and browns of the background. To create this artwork, Holyer used nail polish enamel in addition to oil paint, a similar method to her work in an earlier series, “White Wedding”, in which she used make-up to colour bridal portraits. Holyer’s describes her use of unconventional materials as a strategy to discuss her experience and frustration with the limiting roles historically proscribing women. Grace Rose Holyer / Klatt (née Holyer) ( 1942 - ) Born in Weyburn, Grace Rose Holyer earned her BFA (1989), and B Ed.(1993) at the University of Regina, and her MFA in painting at the University of Saskatchewan (1999). An artist and writer, Holyer is known for her expressionistic work in painting, artist-made books and poetry. Her writing has also been included in artwork by other artists, notably the text in Gisele Amantea’s work, “August the Sixteenth, 1984”. In 1991, Holyer’s paintings and book works were featured in a solo exhibition, “Antiromantic: The Work of Grace Rose Klatt” at what was then the Glen Elm Branch of Dunlop Art Gallery. Holyer currently lives and works in Weyburn. Her work is held in several public collections, including the Saskatchewan Arts Board.