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  • Lorna Brown

    Lorna Brown is a Vancouver artist, curator and educator. Since 1984 her work has been shown in exhibitions at Dazibao, Montreal; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Gallery 44, Toronto; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; and Artspeak, Vancouver, among others. Her recent independent curatorial projects include Set and Group Search: art in the library. Director/Curator of Artspeak 1999–2004.

  • Elspeth Pratt

    Elspeth Pratt has exhibited her work since 1984 in solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Gallery (1985), YYZ , Toronto (1991) and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (1992). Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as Weak Thought (Vancouver Art Gallery), Vancouver Perspective (Yokahama and Taipei) and Contingent (Dunlop Art Gallery) along with Martha Townsend and Eva Hesse and Architettura: Astrazione (Rome). She has been awarded grants from Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the Vancouver Institute for the Visual Arts. Currently (2002), she is collaborating with Javier Campos on a City of Vancouver Ridgeway East Greenway Public Art Project.

  • Lisa Robertson

    Lisa Robertson is a poet currently based in California. Recent books include Occasional Work and Seven Walks From The Office For Soft Architecture: Essays, Toronto (Coach House Books, 2006), The Men, Toronto (Bookthug, 2006); Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, Astoria (Clearcut Press, 2003); Doubt, Vancouver (Artspeak, 2002); The Weather, Vancouver (New Star Books, 2001); Soft Architecture: A Manifesto, Vancouver and Montreal (Artspeak and Dazibao). She teaches at the California College of the Arts.

Exhibitions

  • Doubt

    ELSPETH PRATT
    February 16–March 23, 2002

    Doubt features new and recent sculptural work by Elspeth Pratt, known for her exploration of architecture and furnishings, and for her inventive use of ubiquitous building supplies such as foam insulation, metal corner bead and veneers. Pratt’s new projects further her recent interest in concepts of leisure and consumerism in domestic and public spaces.

    One work, “Escape to Paradise”, uses countertop laminate (named Spa by its manufacturer) which mimics the effect of light on the surface of a swimming pool. This wall construction evokes a kidney shaped pool or a sheltered tropical cove, yet also suggests an abstracted logo or sign in a play of heft and surface.

    In “Adrift”, candy-pink foam insulation and metal mesh arouse the numbed buoyancy intrinsic to the fragile fantasy of the poolside lounge or the beachfront property. The works hinge on the familiarity of the lumberyard materials, and the surprising and contingent methods used to combine them; woodgrain ‘columns’ are stitched together with chain, model-sized balconies are propped on sponge in shapes that suggest a racetrack viewing platform or a cliff-top dwelling.

    The wry humour in Doubt leans upon a critique of the seamless aims of our built environment and the fetish of the custom finish. The work in Doubt suggests the skepticism with which the artist approaches the weight and permanence of sculptural tradition as well as the viewers’ hesitant response to her contingent and ephemeral negotiation of gravity.

    Artspeak and the artist would like to thank the Vancouver Art Gallery for the loan of Adrift.

Publications

Doubt & The History of Scaffolding

Doubt front
Doubt spine
Doubt back

Title: Doubt & The History of Scaffolding
Category: Exhibition Catalogue
Artist: Elspeth Pratt
Writers: Lisa Robertson
Editor: Lorna Brown
Design: Judith Steedman
Publisher: Artspeak
Year published: 2002
Pages: 32 pp
Cover: Paper
Binding: Perfect Bound
Process: Offset
Features: 7 b&w images, 4 colour images
Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 0.6 cm
Weight: 53 g
ISBN: 0-921394-39-X
Out of print

Doubt, an exhibition of new and recent sculptural work by Elspeth Pratt, took place at Artspeak in the spring of 2002. Known for her exploration of architecture and furnishings and for her inventive use of ubiquitous building supplies such as foam insulation, metal corner bead and veneers, Pratt’s new projects further her recent interest in concepts of leisure and consumerism in domestic and public spaces. The works hinge on the familiarity of the lumberyard materials, and the surprising and contingent methods used to combine them; woodgrain ‘columns’ are stitched together with chain, model-sized balconies are propped on sponge in shapes that suggest a racetrack viewing platform or a cliff-top dwelling. The wry humour in Doubt leans upon a critique of the seamless aims of our built environment and the fetish of the custom finish. The work in Doubt suggests the skepticism with which the artist approaches the weight and permanence of sculptural tradition as well as the viewers’ hesitant response to her contingent and ephemeral negotiation of gravity.

In Doubt & The History of Scaffolding, The Office for Soft Architecture embraces the architectural paradox of scaffolding as both stable and “almost a catastrophe”; as a skin, as ceremonial furnishing and as an obscuring grove. Scaffolding’s shaky contract with gravity is drafted in the letters of the alphabet suggested by its form – Ts and Xs. This essay luxuriates in the fluid grammar and transience of such a system. Doubt and The History of Scaffolding builds on a body of work undertaken by The Office for Soft Architecture, beginning with Soft Architecture: A Manifesto, published by Artspeak and Dazibao in 1999 and including numerous contributions to Nest Magazine.