Judith Pratt

April 7-30, 2017

Point of Origin

Everyone has a point of origin—a geographical location, a personally held belief, or a cultural allegiance.  Our points of origin shape and affect each of us in ways that last a lifetime. The installation, Point of Origin, addresses this theme and is part sculpture, part theatrical set, and part visual journey that the artist and the viewer share together.

Pratt’s point of origin is rooted in Central Virginia, specifically the Piedmont region of the state. It is approximately 100 miles west of Washington, D.C. and slightly east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The region holds a complex memory of historic and political power, Civil War battles, slavery, and the practice of Eugenics that is paradoxically mixed with the great natural beauty of its landscape. Point of Origin explores the memory of this evidence.

The installation is constructed mainly of paper and paper-related materials, including Lenox 100 paper, acrylic paint, and wood. Through the installation, a descriptive or narrative environment is not intended, but rather it is an attempt to convey a strong sense of psychological impact.

Visitors are invited to take a pre-cut shape from a stack of paper cut-outs, write or draw something about their point of origin on the paper, then place the cut-out over a spindle. During the course of the exhibition a new, intermingled totem will evolve made up of multiple hand-written or visually drawn messages that invite each person to share their point of origin.

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Judith Pratt holds an MFA in Painting from American University, and an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History from Christie’s Education, New York. She also served as a curatorial assistant in the Modern and Contemporary Drawing and Prints Department at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum. Her work has recently been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Hillyer Art Space, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The American Institute of Architects Headquarters, Brentwood Arts Exchange, and The Alexandria Commission for the Arts, City of Alexandria, among others.

The Jewish Museum in New York recently announced that Pratt’s thesis on American Modernist artist Florine Stettheimer will be included as a source for the Stettheimer retrospective scheduled to open at the Museum in May 2017. The thesis, titled Orphée des Quat’z’ Arts: A Personal Passage into American Modernism, supports Stettheimer’s performance and sculptural work as pivotal in the rise of performance art during the postmodern era.

Pratt was awarded a VCCA-France Fellowship in October 2014 to Auvillar, France. In September 2014, Pratt and thirteen Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellows exhibited their multidisciplinary work in an exhibition titled AXIS at D.C. area’s Brentwood Arts Exchange. The Alexandria Commission for the Arts, City of Alexandria Virginia, also selected Pratt’s work for two solo exhibitions in 2012 and 2013. Pratt received a Purchase Award for her work juried by Olga Hirshhorn for Abramson & Associates, Washington, D.C.

During the summer of 2013, she was selected to join a group of international artists in the inaugural Art Lab Residency Program sponsored by the University of Virginia’s Mountain Lake Biological Station, with emphasis on combining the visual arts and science in a mutually experimental inquiry. Her work has also been featured in four editions of the literary journal Raritan: A Quarterly Review, published by Rutgers University in 2013.

Pratt’s work has been reviewed in ArtnewsThe Washington Post, and The Washington Times. She has lectured at Christie’s Education, New York, taught at Trinity College and American University in Washington, D.C., and lectured at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She participates as a mentor for emerging artists at the College Art Association’s Annual Conference. She served as a panel member for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for artists’ grant awards. Pratt lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area.

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