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  • Frank Atisso

A Feline World by Mary Sparrow at The Dirty Grind

On the occasion of International Day of Happiness 2021, take a journey into the world of cats at this exhibition of real-world paintings by Mary Sparrow – one that will surely put a smile upon your face.

Most of us know March 17th as St. Patrick’s Day; but did you know it is also the feast day of Saint Gertrude of Nivelles? Even though the Roman Catholic Church has not made it official yet, this lesser-known saint is popularly known to be the patron saint of cats! There could not have been a more appropriate day to open an exhibition that appeals to the love and affection we all have for these little balls of fur.

This exhibition by real-life artist Mary Sparrow (biancajane Juliesse) opened with a bang at The Dirty Grind Independent Artist Community with “The Fuzzball”, a six hour live music event to celebrate the Feast of Saint Gertrude. As the name would suggest, this display is all about cats and is a paradise for the feline-obsessed.

Mary has been creating fine art paintings and commissioned portraiture for over 25 years. Her artwork has been shipped to more than 30 countries worldwide and can be found all over the United States. She believes her work is all about bringing joy to people by painting their loved ones, their pets and other objects that elicit happy memories.

This particular exhibition is a collection of Mary’s incredible fine art portraits of different kinds of cats she has made over the years. One can say that pet portraits offer a tougher challenge compared to human ones as the artist needs to distinguish between the different colors of the fur and the various tones created due to the lighting. Additionally, fur is sometimes very shiny which can reflect extreme highlights and create dark shadows.

But Mary, due to her 25 years of experience, has easily gotten past all these challenges and created ultra-realistic, larger-than-life portraits of some lovely cats. The paintings at this exhibition showcase cats of different breeds and colors. Each cat has a unique, lifelike expression that has been beautifully captured by the artist using the strokes of her paint brush.

Apart from the larger-than-life paintings, a notable aspect of the gallery is the atmospheric, themed decor with attention given to every detail. Done primarily by Lisa Littlepaws, co-owner of The Dirty Grind IAC, the design of the room itself enhances the viewing experience greatly.

As soon as we enter the room, we realize that we are now in the kingdom of cats. The furry little beings are the inhabitants of this place and we are just a visitor. Cats of all breeds, sizes and shapes can be found playing, sleeping, fighting and loitering around the entire space. But Lisa has taken it a step further with her spectacular design; even couches, chairs and all other elements in this room have been supplemented with a feline touch.

Perhaps the most enjoyable and humorous scene in the room is that of a number of cats standing up on their hind legs looking at a fish tank with great interest. Apart from this amusing scene, you will find cats literally everywhere in the room. There are large cats sleeping in the corner, there is a big cat in an astronaut suit and even the glasses on the table contain small kittens!

One of the largest paintings in the room is that of a white tiger (which is a cat as well) staring back at us. Mary gives this royal, majestic creature its due respect by making it the largest painting at this exhibition. The gaze of the tiger, so lifelike and realistic, is sure to send a chill down your spine while simultaneously leaving you in awe of Mary’s skills.

The portraits of the lovely felines exhibited within this gallery are all brimming with positivity and will surely bring a smile to your lips. Taking a walk through the exhibition is much like turning over the pages of a remarkable coffee table book. The beauty and opulence of each individual cat has been brought out perfectly by the artist.

Mary’s exhibition is indeed a treat for all cat lovers. It makes us all appreciate, admire and care for these lovely animals a bit more than before. For March 20th, the International Day of Happiness, there is no better place than this – an exhibition which will leave you happy, content and smiling by the end of your visit.

This exhibition by Mary Sparrow is open for viewing at Artists’ Row, The Dirty Grind Independent Artists Community. Click HERE to visit this exhibition inworld.

You can also find The Dirty Grind Independent Artist Community on FACEBOOK and on their BLOG page.

Find more information about artist Mary Sparrow on her WEBSITE.

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