For the fourth installation at Vancouver Art Gallery
Offsite, artist Elspeth Pratt draws on architectural forms as inspiration for her investigation of how the built environment circumscribes public space. Opened on June 29th, Pratts work, titled Second Date, proposes an architecture that is variable and unpredictable, presenting new possibilities for imagining space within the urban fabric of Vancouver .
Offsite, the Gallerys outdoor exhibition space near Georgia and Thurlow in downtown Vancouver, is dedicated to newly commissioned, innovative public art projects. Featuring work by acclaimed contemporary artists, the first three exhibitions were: the photo-based work of O Zhang in July 2009, a sculptural installation by Ken Lum in January 2010, and a large-scale sculptural pavilion by artists Heather and Ivan Morison in October 2010.
In this latest installation, Pratt transforms Offsite through subtle dislocations in the existing architecturerigid angles become curves, opaque surfaces are lined with reflective skins, and dark stone is covered with bright rubber. These changes challenge the impulse to standardize our built environment. Inspired by the Aqua Tower in Chicago (2009) by Studio Gang Architects, Pratts transformation of Offsite reorients our perception of the space and its architectural framing. Pratts work deftly comments on ideas of ornamentation in contemporary architecture, while calling for an examination of the neutrality of spaces designed for public access.
Over the last twenty-five years, Vancouver artist Elspeth Pratt has developed a sculptural language that is largely dictated by her choice of materials and their juxtapositions. Her use of ready-made industrial materials confronts traditional ideas of permanence and value associated with sculpture. Pratt is based in Vancouver and has exhibited nationally and internationally. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, most recently Nonetheless at Charles H. Scott Gallery in Vancouver and the Cooley Gallery in Portland Oregon, and Bluff at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. She has exhibited in group exhibitions in Canada , Japan , Australia , Taiwan and Italy . Pratt is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the VIVA Award in 1993. She is represented by Diaz Contemporary, Toronto .