A second in the lives of total strangers, frozen by photography, is the inspiration behind artist Shari Pratt's exhibit at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery.
Using photos spanning the 1940s through to the '60s, the 49-year-old Maple Ridge artist has created Lost In Time, a collection of acrylic and mixed-media art.
A public reception was held Jan. 12, and there will be a free artist presentation this Saturday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. inside the gallery.
Three years ago, Pratt strolled through an antique shop in New Westminster when she stumbled across an old portrait photo.
The subject seemed to speak to her.
Time passed and Pratt continued to gather portraits, most of them printed on two-inch by three-inch pieces of black and white photo paper.
She accumulated them locally as well as abroad in far-off destinations such as Scotland and Paris.
"It was almost like I knew these people," Pratt said, regarding the subjects of the photos that she used to model her art around. "Like they were a growing family of mine."
This artistic endeavor is not unfamiliar territory for Pratt - she often uses people as her muse.
"Even when I see a landscape, I tend to put a figure in it," she said.
Her attraction to portraits and "old things" is evident through this latest body of work. Pratt said painting portraits of people she never knew functioned as an allegory to her own past relationships.
"As I explored the concept of loneliness, I found that even through isolation, alienation, and loneliness, people are still trying to communicate whether they know it or not," she said. "We want to feel that we belong, somehow."
Pratt is the founder, art director, and visual arts instructor of Creative Kaos School of Art in Maple Ridge.
Her work has been shown at the Eastside Culture Crawl in Vancouver, Concourse Gallery of Emily Carr University, the Harmony Festival in West Vancouver, Art on the Pier in North Vancouver, John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto, and Federation Gallery in Vancouver.
Lost and Found, a portraiture series with a theme of loneliness and imaginary relations, is currently on display at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery until Feb. 2.
Visitors are welcome to visit the gallery at no charge Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as occasional evenings.