All beloved toys earn scars from children’s careless love. But these bunnies’ debased appearance belies more malevolent and purposeful abuse than the normal wear and tear. Catt’s stuffed toys provoke adultempathy. And she explains the bunnies’ sad sagas in her ‘Poison’ series of acrylic and hand stitching canvases. In these Tim Burton-like paintings, Catt establishes the bloody, tragic back-story for her stuffed toys’ trauma.
More common is the mildly distressingly, yet still disillusioning, childhood experience Catt evokes in her series of X-ray photograph-on-light-box works. In these, she exposes the corrupted innards of stuffed animals, as they might appear when passing through an airport X-ray. Children traveling are often upset when separated from a cherished stuffed toy, whose trip into the X-ray underscores its existence as an inanimate object different from its empathetic owner. Airport security searches toys for drugs, weapons and other counter band but Catt’s toys contain messages aimed at the adults who tamper with children and childhood symbols. One such horsey hides a key and padlock, along with the words “betrayal,” in its belly. Here, as in her other work, Catt’s creatures’ pain is palpable but as inarticulate and heartbreaking as all childhood hurts.