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Petland Celebrates Life

Whatcom Museum of Art and History, Bellingham
Thru - May 5 - 2001


Dry Goods 1948
oil on canvas

Petland Celebrates Life is an appropriately titled installation of found and assembled objects created by mixed-media artist Kathy Glowen. At 101 years old Mamie Rand, a woman from rural Spokane, Washington, had spent most of her life in the same home where she ran a pet store and care facility for animals. Rand was introduced to Glowen shortly before her death in 1995. Having no direct heirs, Rand bequeathed to Glowen the contents of her home. This became the inspiration for the traveling installation Petland. After 3 years of sorting through boxes of belongings, Glowen has transformed a lifetime of memorabilia into this unusual exhibit. Her installation explores the intimate relationship between art and everyday life using furniture, photos, letters, pet products and jars. Glowen has built wall boxes, utilized photo transfers, and arranged objects to create a visual biography. "The passage of time is as relentless as death in its ability to obliterate the vestiges of human existence," says Glowen. Petland attempts to honor this passage of time. Viewers are able to walk through the installation absorbing the nostalgia of Rand's life and reflecting upon their own. Forgotten experiences and lost memories are not so far away after visiting the Petland exhibit at the Whatcom Museum.

© Allyn Cantor