March – September 2020
Trespass is part of Kate Malenfant-McNeice’s ongoing body of work 'PET SHOP' that explores the pitfalls of petkeeping and different standards of care for domesticated animals. By looking towards commercial regulations, pet industry trends, Kijiji adoption posts, and municipal and provincial policies, the artist aims to question the guidelines, regulations and oftentimes harmful patterns surrounding companion animals. With her installation Trespass, Malenfant-McNeice employs human anatomy in her prints to focus on the direct human impacts on the species of domestic cats. In Cut It Out I, Malenfant-McNeice is referencing the painful procedure of declawing. This practice has been deemed by many as inhumane and is currently banned in seven out of ten provinces across Canada, yet continues to be a misunderstood and unnecessary procedure.
Her print Cut It Out II reflects on ear-clipping—an internationally accepted sign for neutered/spayed cats—as part of the Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) method for attempting to humanely manage free-roaming domestic cats, often called feral or outdoor cats. With this print, she is commenting on the fact that TNR does not reduce overpopulation or prevent wildlife deaths by cats, other environmental issues, and encouraging indoor cats to remain indoors. The artist’s inclusion of the City of Kingston’s By-Law To Regulate Animals (2004-144) is a further attempt to encourage a personal and site-specific reading of the work. Malenfant-McNeice’s artistic practice invites viewers to reflect on the ways by which domestic animals are contemporarily understood and governed, and how we might be able to reconsider pet ownership as a privilege, rather than a right. Ultimately, Malenfant-McNeice’s practice aims to raise awareness surrounding pet care and poses the question for us to consider: “what does it mean to be a responsible pet owner?”