The Back Room Weekly: "Cat and Mouse" by Michael Stevens

Mar 5, 2015 7:42PM

The Back Room Weekly is a weekly essay featuring gems from our back room. This communication with JAYJAY patrons has been a vital way to promote the idea that the artworks we exhibit are each one of-a-kind-objects worth being singled out and discussed out of the context of an exhibit. All these artworks present a clear picture of JAYJAY’s mission that we continue to execute; exhibiting modern and contemporary work from museum track artists; scholars really, from this region and beyond.  

This week’s pick: Cat and Mouse by Michael Stevens 

The magic of cartoons, children’s books, and shiny new toys influenced a young Michael Stevens and continues to play a major role in his sculptures.  He examines themes of lost innocence through childhood narratives and twists them with an adult edge.  Simultaneously serious and satirical, Stevens’ work presents ever-fluid juxtapositions of good and evil, innocence and guilt, comedy and horror.  He dares to offer a bit of “fun” within his sculptures, while remaining refined in his craftsmanship.

Cat and Mouse conjures childhood memories of lazy Saturday mornings watching the comedic chases and violent battles of Tom and Jerry. The sly cat, the swift curl of the mouse’s tail, and the small hole at the bottom of the piece depicts constant pursuits, near captures, and repeated escapes of a typical cat and mouse chase.  This playful piece seems to embrace the never-ending cycle among these foes and also highlights the drama between the two.  Overall, the natural golden sheen of the carved pine and the glossy enameled surface draws in the viewer like a kid in a candy store, only to capture their attention with Stevens’ storytelling.