In Outside in, Elspeth Pratt’s sculptures are situated between questioning and possibility. There is an insistent interrogation of the relation between how we construct our everyday space through our perceptual and conceptual faculties, what could be termed its production, and how that same space is defined for us through our ongoing activities, what can be thought of as lived space. This line of questioning is always being considered in relation to the radically different process that Pratt sees in the conceptualization of abstract space, a place where possibility is inherent. It is in this place of tension, between definition and possibility, that she locates her work.
The work emanates from an in-between place, a place of complex questions with tenuous answers, a place of vulnerability, a place of dependency. From here the works cannot exist outside of their contextual relationship to the gallery, nor can they escape the gallery’s physical construction, its walls, floor, and load-bearing elements. However, Pratt’s oblique surfaces and tilting planes, sculptures that privilege dexterity and resourcefulness over immutability, do not propose an opposition. They are objects that are dependent but which contain within them the power to counteract the primacy of the architecture they are encased in. The work signifies a kind of resistance through their form, an exploration of ambiguity that questions the literal and figurative structural logic that informs our construction of space and point to an inherent lack of stability within that system.
Within the abstraction of her work she wants the viewer to experience the unknown, to experience the sense of knowing without the idea of certainty, to be able to recognize the forms that are being referenced without being able to name them.
Elspeth 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 and is currently part of the traveling exhibition Silent As Glue, organized by Oakville Galleries.