Pratt v. King at the AGNS

Review

Make sure to catch the Mary Pratt retrospective at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia before it ends March 1. The show features Pratt’s works from throughout her life organized through five conversation themes. Her photo-realism paintings left me in a state of wonderment. One can stand below her paintings observing her meticulous brush strokes all day. Her work ranges from depicting family and warmth to more ambiguous pieces that depict pain and longing. On the floor above Pratt is Eleanor King’s show “Dark Utopian”, a rather solipsistic show, in my opinion, about her recent move from Halifax to New York. In her artist talk, King spoke about the struggles of having to reconcile with her success as an artist, which means sacrificing a stable life in a maritime town and being forced to jet-set to various international cities. The show seems randomly organized, and poorly researched. For example, King falsely labels the two boats in the installation “dorys”(pointed out by a couple of maritimers at the artist talk). She includes two drawings of a series of circles that she made from tracing old records. She explains these as odes to her obsessions with junk. I just wonder; Why? I’m craving something a little more concrete and better connected. I think the show is too abstract for my taste but it definitely got me riled up, frustrated and overanalyzing. Maybe that is good art!?!? Either way I would definitely recommend seeing it; a great conversational exhibit.