Vivian Pratt Explores Nature’s Hidden Frontier
It’s well documented in travelers’ diaries that before the Romantic era, the more awe-inspiring aspects of nature provoked shudders; tourists would scurry through the Alps on well-marked trails, looking neither left nor right. But that was then.
Today, we include ourselves in the most and the least of nature and are forging a new sensibility, with new outlooks, to explore. Inevitably, this new frontier attracts the bold and the ready which, I would argue, is the case with the Bromfield Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, “Inner Terrains,” by artist Vivian Pratt.
In the Romantic West, our last frontier, now much faded, explorers came with ropes and traps slung from broad, buckskin-clad shoulders. Completing their equipage was an uncanny knowledge of the terrain, and a mount that could preternaturally intuit their commands and, in some dangerous moments, correct them.
Our new “inner terrains” demand just as much knowledge of means and methods, less the horse, to record what we are observing, and to bring it back to form the new sensibility toward which we are groping.
Think of Bierstadt in Yosemite as well as painter and sculptor Frederic Remington on the Great Plains with buffalo hunters and cattle drivers; now zoom in as the pendulum of our sensibility swings from the massive to the micro.
Pratt served an eventful apprenticeship with the hardware and software that guides the communication — and the branding strategies — of our international corporations. Over fruitful decades, she became comfortable enough with the technology of computers, cameras, printers and the intersections between them that she could think and feel on the instant. No less was demanded in this brave new world where the first commandment is ASAP — with perfection a desideratum. And so Pratt farmed her small plot arduously, and meticulously.