Sarah Pratt’s latest solo exhibition continues to explore themes that were introduced in Migration last year. In Night and Day, nocturnal animals hang out with diurnal animals in unlikely friendships. Her titles hint at the possible gossiping that might ensue between the animal characters in Autumnor At Midnight. The series makes a stronger reference to wallpapers of the eighteenth century than her last exhibition, with a striking use of flat colour backgrounds and Art Nouveau-style decorative foliage design.
Pratt’s artistic world relishes the unlikely meeting of birds, mammals and plants separated by habit, biology and habitat. She encourages an imaginative viewing and light-hearted musings on the comical potential of her characters meeting in a two-dimensional space. In a Noah’s ark-like confrontation of personalities, one might be reminded of the meeting of early morning office commuters on the same train as nightclubbers returning home. Habitually worlds apart, such confrontations in a contained space mark a humorous crossover of incongruent realities facilitated by human-made environments.
Sarah Pratt is a Zimbabwean born artist who currently lives between Wales in the United Kingdom and Kamieskroon in South Africa’s Northern Cape. Her works communicate her own personal struggles with space and place, the loss of a beloved pet or humanity’s tenuous link with the natural world.
Salon Ninety One is a Cape Town based gallery, presenting works by emerging and established contemporary artists of all disciplines, passionate about developing a new brand of local talent. The gallery specializes in accessible contemporary South African Art, Design and illustration. Founded during 2008 by Monique du Preez, (Married name, Foord), curator and director to the space and its highly energized exhibition program. The gallery presented a selection of contemporary work ranging from painting, textile, print, drawing, and to a smaller degree photography and sculpture, with a special emphasis on collaborative projects and bridging the traditional divide between disciplines. Salon91 offered international and local collectors, as well as first-time buyers unique investment opportunities into the emerging South African art market.
Salon Ninety One exhibited at the Turbine Art Fair at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the fifth consecutive year. Visitors to the gallery’s booth did enjoy works by their regular Salon Ninety One TAF favourites such as Amber Moir, Andrew Sutherland, Black Koki, Bruce Mackay, Cathy Layzell, Georgina Berens, Kirsten Beets, Kirsten Sims, Mareli Esterhuizen, Paul Senyol, Heidi Fourie, and Zarah Cassim, to mention only a few, as well as exciting newcomers to the fair, including Chloe Townsend, Berry Meyer, Katrine Claassens, Lili Probart, Matthew Prins, NEBNIKRO, Renée Rossouw, Sarah Pratt, Tara Deacon & more. Expect to see collage, painting, photography, ceramics, monotypes, reverse glass works, and drawings, executed in a rich winter’s palette, articulated with cool midnight hues, and bursts of warm jewel colours. The space did feature large and medium sized works by the various exhibiting artists, as well as two group projects, including a collection of diminutive works.
INSTALLATION PREVIEW IN TURBINE #3 | ‘SHEATHED’ by JENNA BARBE
Sarah Pratt’s collection of puffins and flamingos, herons and hot air balloons, wild dogs and horses appear as if conjured from a poem. Now that they are in gouache on paper they look about them a little bemused. “Here?” they seem to say, gazing at the viewer with the inscrutable expression of their ilk.
Migration is a whimsical look at animals in diaspora. This is not the first time that Pratt has employed the animal in her works, but her employment of them remains vested in the juxtaposition of the unexpected, and the absurdity and humour of dreams. Levi Strauss has noted that animals are good to think with. Throughout her exhibitions Pratt’s animals have met in curious spaces such as the foreign locales in Away or the sinister cocoon of The Dark Forest. Her works communicate the musings of the artist’s own personal struggles with space and place, and humanity’s tenuous link with the natural world.
In Migration not all of Pratt’s animals are necessarily migrating themselves. Some stand on the backs of other animals in order to witness the mass exodus outside of the picture plane. Some view this movement with confusion, or anxious vulnerability, others are merely interested in the activity. In treatment and form, Pratt’s animals remind one of the creatures that populate wallpapers of the eighteenth century: decorative inhabitants of the two-dimensional illusion of an ‘other’ space. Colonialism’s fascination with the natural world that lead eighteenth century Enlightenment scholars to insist on classificatory systems has consistently placed the puffin and the flamingo in the same space of the Natural History Museum. Preserved by the taxidermist and contained within the glass cases of this museum we are left with similar juxtapositions of the absurd. Hunting as a sport has had a similar way of bringing together the macabre trophies of, for instance: goose, fowl and pigeon. This was translated through time into the curious porcelain wild ducks on the walls of our Grandmother’s home. Pratt plays off these historical pursuits in a contemporarily waggish way, proposing a possible new world order of bemused harmony between duck and wild dog, Hornbill and Dachshund.
As viewers we are free to muse on the encounters of birds, mammals, plants and other flying things in the ‘nowhere’ place of the picture plane. In spaces described by decorative foliage or a pink sunrise or sunset, Pratt’s encounter of species delicately reflects an uncertain universe.
ORACLE | SALON NINETY ONE end-of-year group show in aid of S A Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind | 03 December at 11AM | 91 Kloof Street. Gardens. Cape Town
Accessible, affordable artwork across a broad range of mediums by some of Salon Ninety One’s favourite emerging and established creatives. Artists include: Anastasia Pather, Andrew Sutherland, Berry Meyer, Bruce Mackay, Cathy Layzell, Gabrielle Raaff, Gerhard Human, Hanno van Zyl, Heidi Fourie, Isabella Kuijers, Jade Klara, Jordan Sweke, Katrin Coetzer, Katrine Claassens, Kirsten Beets, Kirsten Sims, Lara Feldman, Linsey Levendall, Maaike Bakker, Maria Lebedeva, Nicole Dalton, Nina Torr, Paul Senyol, Pierre le Riche, and Sarah Pratt.
Doors open at 11AM with an opening address by S A Guide-Dogs Association at 11:30. Throughout the day there will be opportunities to interact with Guide Dog Owners and their dogs, as well as Puppy Raisers with their puppies in training.
South African Guide-Dogs Association provides Independence, Mobility and Companionship to the differently abled community of South Africa by providing Guide, Service and Autism Support Dogs. Ten percent of all art sales will be put towards the sponsorship and training of guide dog puppies.
My role is that of social anthropologist in an imaginary village/town where strange creatures live – there will be 5 central characters, probably a fox puppet, an owl man, a dog,,,,,,, and hopefully the rest will flow from there.(really just a way of continuing to make the kind of work that i like making and a way to incorporate all the things that interest me – houses, strange creatures, birds, dogs, specific trees, flora, etc.)
I really enjoyed making that ply installation for the window, so was thinking of making some smaller things – like the little puffin that was flying over the scene and just attached to the wall – kind of a spin on those kitch 70’s flying ceramic ducks.
Sarah Pratt presents a body of work that is inspired by the life and death of her dog, Laptop.
The death of a loyal companion invokes feelings of pain, isolation and nostalgia.
The process of remembering seems to root us in another time and place, a timeless, intangible realm.
Intrigued by ‘The Wood Between the Worlds’ in C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Magician’s Nephew’, the artist’s work also alludes to her imagined existence of a strange, green in-between place where her deceased dog now resides.
Using pen, ink, gouache, collage, gold leaf and paper cutting techniques, she focuses on producing a series of works that are an exploration of life, death, memory and place.