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Katie Pretti: Mirage

Katie Pretti: Mirage

April 22 – May 20, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 23, 2–5 PM

Artist Talk: Saturday, April 23, 3 PM

The composition of Mirage was inspired by documentary photographs of altarpiece triptychs removed from the contexts of their architectural niches. Textbooks commonly present these pictures of arch-shaped painted panels as cutouts on blank black or white backgrounds. I started to notice—and became unable to ignore—the layering of pictorial spaces happening on the pages of these books.

If I thought of the blank space surrounding an altarpiece panel as form, the landscape depicted in the painting looked like it could be a view of a place beyond the barrier of the page, rather than something sitting on top of it. The idea of fooling the eye made me think of the visual phenomenon that creates a mirage as one looks at the horizon, a confusion of sky reflecting back to the eye where land is supposed to be. I imagined the three arches comprising Mirage as consecutive glimpses of a magical moment in a different world, in which (from left to right) matter dissipates then disappears.

Though my recent work is influenced by elements of Romantic painting, my creative roots are in Abstract Expressionism, and my objective is to create the impression of a narrative within figurative abstraction. Experimenting with various means of conveying motion and emotion and communicating subject matter to the viewer (suggestive titles, references to the figure, implied architectural elements), I seek to exploit the expressive abilities of composition—just as poetry uses words, syntax, rhyme, and rhythm to illustrate mood.

—Katie Pretti  


Katie Bond Pretti (b. 1980) is a Toronto-based artist exploring narrative abstraction in drawing and painting.

Pretti has been an artist in residence at COME (Buenos Aires), Ctrllab (Montreal), The White House (Toronto), and Spark Box Studios (Picton, Ontario). Her book of drawings, Sonority of Words, was launched by Art Metropole, featured at the 2007 NY Art Book Fair, and added to the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. Her work is also in the collections of Soho House, TD Canada Trust, and Femmarte.

Pretti graduated with honours from OCAD in 2004 and has been profiled in Carte Blanche Volume 2: Painting, She Does the City, ArtSync, ArtSlant, Magenta Magazine, Elle Canada, Fashion Magazine, Canadian House and Home, and Inside Entertainment, among other publications.

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