Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Art Space Talk: Thea Pratt (Part 2)

On Fire by Thea Pratt

This is Part 2 of my interview with Thea Pratt. To return to Part 1 click, HERE

Brian Sherwin: Thea, what about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists?

Thea Pratt: A lot of the artists who influence me are anonymous. The New Guinea carvers who made the "hooks" that can be seen at the Met, the artists who illustrated the Utrecht Psalter, a painting of a Buddha that glows on the walls of the Rubin Museum, a piece of Inuit sculpture of the seal goddess made of green soapstone.

Of known artists, I'm interested in the automatic drawing of the Surrealists and I love the attitude of the 1920's, the humor and biting commentary. I practice Asian brush calligraphy and love the ancient calligraphers. And the Goya show a while back at the Met literally left me speechless, particularly the Saturn pieces. So much agony.

BS: So what is the specific message you strive to convey to viewers? Do you adhere to a specific philosophy as far as your work is concerned?

TP: Ah, yes. At this point I become wordless again. Perhaps a word I can throw out is "honesty". I'm a yoga teacher and coming from the core is so important there. I think I learned a lot about that from making art.
I think that that's why I find words to be such a problem. People just throw them around.

In yoga I can't describe what happens in meditation. It's the same In art. I have more of a philosophy about words than about my art. Words can narrow and categorize, can change the piece entirely. I think that its important to allow art to be ambiguous, to always have that part that you don't "understand". On the other hand, if words are a carefully considered, integral part of the piece, they can open and add to it.
On Fire by Thea Pratt

BS: What are you working on at this time? Can you give our readers some insight into your current work?

TP: Right now I'm working on several pieces. That's another thing I do. I find that if I focus on anything too much it doesn't work for me. If I were teaching a yoga class I'd describe it as keeping my eyes soft, allowing for the peripheral vision of my mind.

Anyway, I keep doing the drawings for "Swarm". This began as a children's story around 2005 and then grew too dark so I just call it a "story" Right now I'm working on part 3: "exploding houses". This is a wall piece made up of drawings of city buildings. The streets on the periphery of the city are detaching and these houses are exploding. The drawings together form the shape of a spiral galaxy that covers the wall.

I also keep working on the "icons". Each one of these has taken years. They stop and start, the materials keep being recycled and getting more of a "natural" feel and, finally, everything pulls together and they're finished.

And I recently uploaded a lot of photographs and, for the first time, have had a chance to really look at them. So I have my camera out again.

On Fire by Thea Pratt

BS: What are your thoughts concerning the internet and utilizing the World Wide Web in order to gain exposure for your art? In your opinion, why is it important for artists to embrace the internet?

TP: I think that the internet is both good and bad. It's good because the people who are making art that isn't part of the main stream (I know a lot of really good artists who aren't showing in galleries) can be seen and can connect with people who relate to them. It's downside is that the work is never as it appears on the web.

Getting back to Winnipeg, the only work other than local art we saw was in reproductions. It was a shock when I came to NY and saw the real thing. Goya's Saturns are interesting in a book but they bowled me over in real life. However, the internet is good at introducing the viewer and the artist so I think it's important that we use it.

To read Part 3 of my interview with Thea Pratt click, HERE

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

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