Union Gallery

Vitrine Projects


Kate Malenfant-McNeice

Kate Malenfant-McNeice, Cut It Out I, silkscreen on paper, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Trespass is part of Kate Malenfant-McNeice’s ongoing series of works that explores the pitfalls of petkeeping and different standards of care for domesticated animals. By looking towards the pet industry, commercial regulations, Kijiji adoption posts, and municipal and provincial policies, the artist aims to question the guidelines, regulations and trends surrounding pet ownership. With her installation Trespass, Malenfant-McNeice employs human anatomy in her prints to focus on the direct human impacts on the wellbeing of domesticated 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 domesticated cats, often called feral or outdoor cats. The impact of such programs, however, is counteracted by a multitude of other factors, including indoor cats being allowed outdoors, and the fact that these programs do not exist in an enclosed system. 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.

Kate Malenfant-McNeice, Cut It Out II, silkscreen on paper, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Malenfant-McNeice’s artistic practice invites viewers to reflect on the ways by which domesticated 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?”

Kate Malenfant-McNeice is in the final year of her Bachelor of Fine Art degree at Queen’s University. She works primarily as a painter and has been experimenting with printmaking. She is interested in exploring how domestic animal welfare is implemented and negotiated, and how this relates to the misinformation around household pet care. Malenfant-McNeice is continuing her education by working towards a Bachelor of Education, focusing on Visual Arts Education for the high school level.

If you are interested in curating a Vitrine Space exhibition, please contact us at ugallery@queensu.ca