It is always exciting to retrace the path of an artist you admire.
Today, the gracefulness and lightness of Elspeth Pratt’s work adorns the urban Offsite exhibition space of the VAG. It looks novel and contemporary, seemingly hand-made and whimsical but rendered in a scale that is normally out of proportion to the material.
In this blog entry, I’d like to consider Pratt’s journey towards becoming an important figure in the Vancouver art scene in relation to the CAG.
In several ways the CAG played an important role in her artistic career, being the site of her first solo exhibition. In 1985, Pratt reflected on social commentary, urban issues, art, architecture and man-made environment through her formal sculptures.
In 1988, Robert Linsley, with assistance from the CAG, curated an exhibition of three Canadian sculptors held at Sala 1 gallery in Rome. Among them, Elspeth Pratt would travel to Italy to present her abstract yet gestural sculptures to a European audience in an exhibition entitled “Architettura: Astrazione”.
These are not the only instances Pratt has shown work at the CAG. She also exhibited Bluff in the gallery’s street front windows in 2007. This site-specific work commented on the lack of foresight that characterises downtown Vancouver’s residential-highrise industry.
Currently Pratt’s name is listed among 1000 others in the windows as a reminder of the gallery’s artistic legacy and in commemoration of their 40th anniversary.
To view a short video of the artist commenting on her work, please follow this link:
To read a recent article on Elspeth Pratt’s work at the VAG Offsite location, please refer to:
Edited and designed by James Langdon, this is the fifth draft user's manual for Eastside Projects, a free public gallery in Birmingham opened in September 2008, that is being imagined and organised by artists. It explains what the organisation is made of, how it was set up, who it is for, how it can be used and what it can offer. As would be the case when operating a machine or learning a subject, a manual may be necessary for the full use of of Eastside Projects. In this draft, the manual is structured as an alphabetical compendium of verbs. Each of these interconnected entries describes an activity engaged in by Eastside Projects as an organisation or a process occurring in the Eastside Projects building. Beneath each entry is a prompt to the reader to follow one of multiple narrative paths through the text. Readers unfamiliar with Eastside Projects should begin at Describing. Others suggested starting points Welcoming, Exhibiting, Narrating, Complicating, integrating.MORE
Designed by James Langdon,Has Man A Function In Universe? is part of an ongoing project begun in 2002 to develop forty projects related to forty questions written by R. Buckminster Fuller. Each project is an artwork or a combination of artworks, developed in response to one of the questions. Of all the questions ‘Has Man A Function In Universe?’ may be the key that binds and directs all of the other questions. Gavin Wade has commissioned artists and writers to respond to this question using a combination of text and image.
The publication will reflect the process of the project – an ‘exquisite corpse’ involving collaboration, dissemination and the combining of works.
This book compiles research produced at five 'A School for Design Fiction' workshops at London College of Communication (London), Fahrenheit 39 (Ravenna, IT), Konstfack (Stockholm), Registration School (London) and Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), with contributions from Peter Nencini, Francesco Pedraglio, Samara Scott and Batia Suter.MORE
Conceived and designed by James Langdon with Peter Nencini and Gavin Wade, this is the sixth draft manual for Eastside Projects, a free artist-run public gallery in Birmingham opened in September 2008. The sixth draft - in the form of a story for children - describes an alternative to the cycle of urban erasure and renewal. In the iconic 1972 publication ‘Adhocism’, architectural historian Charles Jencks wrote: “... the environment should preserve a record of past action, so that present and future actions may become intelligible.” In this spirit Eastside Projects proposes to initiate a new planning policy for Birmingham — informed by values of accumulation, complexity and story-telling — to make a more ‘legible’ environment.MORE
As part of Responsive Subjects, A School for Design Fiction convened on November 8, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig. This itinerant school employs the curious genre of ‘design fiction’ to assert storytelling as the primary function of design, assuming that every artefact has the potential to express the character of the culture that produced it. This publication documents and expands on the founding of the school through a series of imagined scenarios. These include a drama at the printer for architect Augustus Pugin in 1836, the history of the universe as observed on an English hillside in 1937, the first human trial of split brain surgery in California in 1961, and a Scottish speech synthesis studio in 2013. As the CAG's contribution to the Vancouver Design Week 2014, James Langdon conducted a three day workshop exploring narrative approaches to design, a series of connected exercises subjecting a collection of found materials to various manual and conceptual processes.MORE
This book was published in conjunction with the exhibition Two Places at Once, curated by Barbara Fischer and Ann MacDonald and organized by the Blackwood Gallery, University Toronto at Mississauga, and Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto by Scarborough. The publication contains text contributions in English and German by Lisa Gabrielle Mark, Barbara Fischer, Midori Matsui, Ann MacDonald and Georgio Verzotti.MORE