American, b. 1972
Cat’s Cradle, 2013
Acrylic, marble dust, glitter, papier mâché, jingle bells, pigment, ink on raw canvas
Purchased from the Kate Werble Gallery
Laurel Sparks’ large-format, mixed-media painting, Cat’s Cradle, was purchased for the collection in 2015 after it was displayed in the summer exhibition, Wayfarers, which explored multi-sensory experience through contemporary painting.
Sparks utilizes a variety of elements to construct her paintings. In Cat’s Cradle the viewer will find glitter, papier-mâché, and jingle bells as well as acrylic paint. Interested in sigils, glyphs, and symbols, Cat’s Cradle is one of many paintings constructed through a cryptic set of self-imposed rules. To start, Sparks writes words or ideas in a spiral from the center of her canvas to the edges. She then erases a majority of the letters leaving behind only points, which she then connects to create shapes and pathways. Sparks always works from a plan for the journey of the artwork, but never has expectations for how her paintings will resolve.
Cat’s Cradle is exemplary of how through experimentation an unlikely conglomerate becomes a cohesive piece. The child’s game the painting is titled after is one of the oldest forms of play known in human history - Cat’s Cradle, like its namesake, feels like it exists without time, casting out a cosmic net which pulls the viewer into its enchanting forms, pathways, and geometry.