July 13, 2011 - Vancouver Art Gallery - Offsite: Elspeth Pratt
July 13, 2011

Offsite: Elspeth Pratt

Elspeth Pratt, “Second Date,” 2011.
Site-specific installation at the Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite.
Photo by Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Offsite: Elspeth Pratt
June 29, 2011–January 8, 2012

Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite
www.vanartgallery.bc.ca

For the fourth installation at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, renowned Vancouver sculptor Elspeth Pratt draws on architectural forms as inspiration to investigate how the built environment circumscribes public space. While her artworks negotiate the line between abstraction and representation, her ideas are manifest through her use of ready-made industrial materials that refer to or negate traditional ideas of permanence and value associated with sculpture.

Offsite is the Vancouver Art Gallery’s outdoor exhibition space in the heart of urban Vancouver that offers a rotating program of innovative public art projects. To date three projects have been presented at Offsite: 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.

Pratt’s new project examines how forms of spatial organization become a naturalized force within the urban environment. Pratt transforms Offsite through subtle dislocations in the existing architecture—rigid angles become curves, opaque surfaces are lined with reflective skins, and dark stone is covered with bright vinyl. These formal changes work against the impulse to standardize our built environment, and instead propose an architecture that is variable and unpredictable, opening up new possibilities for imagining space within the urban fabric of Vancouver. Inspired by the Aqua Tower in Chicago (2009) by Studio Gang Architects, Pratt’s transformation of Offsite reorients our perception of the space and its architectural framing. Pratt’s work deftly comments on ideas of ornamentation in contemporary architecture while challenging the implied 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. 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.

Offsite is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and funded by the City of Vancouver through the Public Art Program. The Gallery recognizes Ian Gillespie, President, Westbank; Ben Yeung, President, Peterson Investment Group; and the residents at Shangri-La for their support of this space. Offsite: Elspeth Pratt is generously supported by our Visionary Partner: Michael O’Brian Family Foundation. Offsite: Elspeth Pratt is curated by Kathleen Ritter, Associate Curator.

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