Night and Day is the 5th solo exhibition of Sarah Pratt with the Gallery Salon Ninety One Contemporary Art Collection, Cape Town, South Africa. The exhibition concludes Saturday 23 February 2019.
Sarah, tell us something about you, about your interests, about the place where you were born.
I was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. I grew up on a Groundnut and Tobacco farm just south of Harare where I was surrounded by animals and open spaces. I am an avid fan of Scandinavian crime thrillers and love hiking. I have an Australian Cattle Dog, who has a very high energy level, so I spend a lot of time walking with her. Currently I am living in a little cottage in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with my partner, Andrew Lovell, and the dog. We spend 6 months here and 6 months in the Karoo in the Northern Cape on a smallholding where we collect rare plant bulbs and succulents. I paint from both locations.
How is the currently exhibition Night and Day related to the past one Migration?
There were paintings that I made in Migration that lead me into the work that I made for Night and Day, specifically the works with patterned backgrounds. I felt that I wanted to take this process a step further, thus a lot of the works made for Night and Day explore pattern.
Furthermore, I was not ready to relinquish my beloved animals, so I chose to continue playing with them and placing them into unusual pairings. I felt like a little girl playing in a doll’s house.
In your artworks there are nocturnal animals and diurnal animals close each other. Which is the concept behind this choice?
The idea began when I became interested in what happens outside in the night when we are safely tucked into our beds sleeping. Creatures come out of holes and wander around doing their business. I find it interesting. Their moonlit experience of the earth must be very different to ours. I also love the idea that many creatures are bustling around outside my window while I am asleep.
Once I started to research nocturnal animals, I start to think about how it would be if a nocturnal animal bumped into a diurnal animal. I found the concept amusing, and thus the paintings began to take shape.
Tell us briefly about the technique chosen.
I paint with gouache onto paper. I trained as a printmaker, specifically copper etchings, so I paint a bit like a printmaker who is planning on making an etching. First, I map out my image, then I go about filling it in: I layer my work, from background to foreground, which I suppose is why my foliage always has a bit of a 2-dimensional feel to it. My way of working is quite formulaic, but is suits me very well.
What about the different relationship between animals and nature in your homeland, UK and South Africa?
I suppose the only real difference for me is that the animals in the UK are not especially dangerous to humans.
How could European citizens get closer to the natural world, often so far away from their towns?
Other than encouraging people to get a dog or cat, I really am not qualified to answer this question as I have not travelled to many European cities. When we come to Wales, we live in the countryside, surrounded by farm animals, foxes and badgers.
The few European cities that I have been to, however, seem to have an abundance of trees and birdlife, which I find beautiful.
Could nocturnal and diurnal animals be a metaphor of the dark side and bright side of the human being?
I suppose they could. I definitely think of nocturnal animals as being slightly more sinister, despite the fact that many of them are not. It is more like they live in a different world to diurnal animals, on a different plane.
In cover: SARAH PRATT. Listening, 2019. Gouache on paper. 310x400 mm. Framed. Courtesy of Salon Ninety One Contemporary Art Collection
#1: SARAH PRATT. Commuters II, 2019. Gouache on paper. 310 x 400mm. Framed. Courtesy of the Gallery
#2: SARAH PRATT. Opposites I, 2018. Gouache on paper. 400 x 310mm. Framed. Courtesy of the Gallery
#3: SARAH PRATT. Autumn, 2019. Gouache on paper. 380 x 500mm. Framed. Courtesy of the Gallery
#4: SARAH PRATT. No Shade I, 2019. Gouache on paper. 380 x 500mm. Framed. Courtesy of the Gallery