Local artist Shari Pratt was inspired by photos from the 1940s and 1950s to explore the theme of being alone in her show opening in Maple Ridge on Jan. 12.
Maple Ridge Art Gallery will host her exhibition Lost and Found until Feb. 2, featuring portraits of unknown individuals who express aspects of Pratt's own personal history.
Most notably, she captures feelings of loneliness and isolation that relate to her itinerant childhood.
The fact that her family moved frequently while she was young made it difficult for Pratt to forge the deep friendships and connections that are recognized as fundamental human needs.
"Inspired by the notion that companionship and a sense of belonging are vital to human happiness, my work addresses themes of aloneness where I try to find meaning and truth below the surface," she said. "I begin by building up the surface of the canvas with a contemporary portrait and found objects and then peel back the layers through physical deconstruction by sanding, carving and detaching."
It is through this sequence of layering media on the canvas followed by selective deconstruction that Pratt evokes the passage of time and distance between the viewer and subject, thus reinforcing the notion that her portraits are based in recollection of memories that are alternately sharp and indistinct.
Pratt is well known as an art educator in this community, and she has built up a strong following of both child and adult students while maintaining an active studio practice.
The past year has been a particularly auspicious one for Pratt, as she has had solo exhibitions at public galleries in Fort Langley and the Port Moody Arts Centre where she is also artist in residence.
She holds qualifications in art and design from the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Emily Carr University, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
The mission of the gallery, which is located in a purpose-built space within The ACT, is to present stimulating and diverse displays of artwork by local, regional, and national artists and artisans.
It also offers talks, workshops and other presentations intended to broaden and enrich the public's appreciation and understanding of visual culture in its many forms. Visitors are welcome to visit at no charge Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as occasional evenings.
Lost and Found will be at the gallery from Jan. 12 to Feb. 2. A public reception will be held on Jan. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m.
And, there will be a free artist presentation on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m.