All Images Copyright of James Mellick
The Art of James Mellick: Pet Rock
                                        Pet Rock, 1992
               Collection of Dr. Larry Mellick, MD, Augusta, GA

My allegorical animal sculptures have a mechanical look to them and I am often asked if their parts move. "Pet Rock" is my first kinetic sculpture. This sculpture of an interacting dog and cat, with the alternate title of, "Rex Was Having Great Fun But Fluffy Was Not Amused," started me thinking about gender perceptions and politics.

It is understandable why cats are often thought of as female and dogs are regarded as male. I think it has much to do with the cat's independence or perhaps, indifference. Her unwillingness to respond immediately to being called or her displeasure of being held should not be confused with anti- social stupidity. Likewise, if a cat's show of affection is conditional, a dog ought not be considered stupid or inbred because of his blind trust, unconditional loyalty, wet kisses and emotional expressions of affection.

Regardless of what Cosmopolitan preached during the sexual revolution, at forty-eight, I've concluded that women do not need men in the same way that men need women. Once the seed has been planted and the crops have been harvested, they expect you to park the machinery in the barn and let it rust. Men, on the other hand, like to bring the farm equipment out into the light once and a while, brush off the dust, oil it and fire it up; even if for a shorter duration of time. This explains the fascination that some guys have with the turn-of-the-century, steam driven threshing machines at the county fair. With their thumbs in the straps of their coveralls, they stand back to watch the mighty pistons drive the big belts.

The woman's willingness to park the machinery and her later-in-life comfortableness, if not indifference to us men, is nature's way of preparing the woman to outlive the male--whose life has been shortened either because he was shot sowing his oats on the wrong side of the fence or he turned to greasy food for gratification. Maybe it's her nine lives, along with her independence, which lends to the gender perception of the cat