“I wish to create images imbued with a sense of the bizarre and the surreal. For me, the animals represent a threat, an anxiety or fear however irrational that needs to be overcome,” said Sally Moore of this image, Cat’s Cradle.
Moore’s captivating surrealist works often include a psychological element based on real experience. Her enjoyment lies in depicting anxieties, often relating to social interaction and haunting fantasies, through visual metaphors, bringing to mind the works of Frida Kahlo.
The artist is always her own model. Here, she is attempting to tame one of the wild cats. The title references the ancient and universal game known as cat’s cradle, where a piece of string is wound between players’ fingers to create cradle shapes and patterns.
Moore created the work after her return from Italy, where she studied at the British School in Rome. It was there that she was able to study the works of Giorgione, Titian and Caravaggio, whose theatricality and intensity seems to be referenced in the drama of Moore’s image. There is also an element of humour and self-mockery that calls to mind the work of 18th-century satirist William Hogarth.
She has compared her works to a still from an unknown film where the audience is invited to dictate the narrative. The artist says: “I rarely dwell on good times. I paint about things that bother me, and that I find difficult or make me anxious.”
• This series is brought to you in collaboration with Art UK, which brings the nation’s art together on one digital platform and tells the stories behind the art. The website shows works by 50,000 artists from more than 3,000 venues including museums, universities and hospitals as well as thousands of public sculptures. Discover the art you own here.
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