David Pirrie’s interest in mountains dates back to his childhood, when he and his brother would scramble around their backyard of British Columbia’s coastal range on Vancouver’s North Shore. Pirrie’s reverence for these snow-capped peaks extends itself into a devotional pursuit whereby he not only paints these mountains but climbs most of them as well. Recent ski mountaineering expeditions into the Grand Tetons for example, gives Pirrie an intimate sense for the mountain ranges he visits and their characteristics, forging a relationship between the images he creates and his experience.
In removing the individual mountain from the surrounding range Pirrie decontextualizes his subject, making it symbolic rather than representational. He treats his mountains like celebrities, fashioning larger than life, unattainable, beautiful and mysterious portrayals. David records their rugged features in detail, as they individually assume their own unique personalities. His use of bright monochromatic colors and dot overlay draws aesthetic and conceptual comparisons to Pop Art, implicating these colossal stone figures in the pop culture lexicon. In this light the work becomes an exercise in re-framing how we perceive the mountains; examining the function of representation and how preserving something in imagery can make it iconic.
David’s paintings are also a form of personal inquiry. The dots may represent coordinate plotting, metaphorically pointing to the impermanence of their man-made structures that attempt to prescribe location at the intersection of human and geological time. David also paints evidence of erosion, hoping to remind us of the temporal nature of the mountains which, seemingly anchored in time, force us to acknowledge our transient existence on this earth.
– Thibault Robert Bennett
1993 B.F.A., Concordia University, Montreal.
1988 Diploma of Studio Arts, Capilano College, Vancouver.
1993 The Canada Council: Explorations Grant.
1994 B.C. Cultural Services: Project Grant.
DOCUMENTARY FILM “LANDSCAPE AND TIME”
2010 A twenty minute documentary where director Greg Hewitt followed the artist for one year documenting his process. Released by Handcut Films.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2014 “Mapping the Teton’s”. Diehl Gallery, Jackson Wyoming.
2014 “The Mountain Survey Project”. Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2008 “Codified Topographies”. Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2006 “Western Drift”. Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC.
2006 “Risk Analysis”. Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2004 “Subduction Zone”. Verge Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2004 “The Loneliest Highway”. Atelier 31 Gallery, Seattle Washington.
SELECTED GROUP SHOWS
2014 “New works”. Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2014 “Vantage Art Projects”. Back Gallery Project Space, Vancouver BC.
2013 “An Introduction”. Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2008 “Made in the West”. 20 designers and artists, Arthouse Calgary Alberta.
2008 “Search Re-Search, contemporary landscapes”, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey BC.
2008 “Work’n it”. The Drawers, Toronto Ontario.
2007 Toronto International Art Fair, Toronto Ontario.
2007 “Fall Show”. Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2007 “2007 Drawing Expo”. Gaff Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2007 “Spring Show”. Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2006 “Indie Picks”. The Drawers, Toronto Ontario.
2006 “Fall Show”. Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2006 “Roadrunner”. Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC. Curated by Linda Sawchwyn.
2006 “20th Anniversary Exhibition”. Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2005 “Arte Fiera”(Bologna Art Fair). GAS Gallery, Turin Italy.
2004 “Bites”. Atelier 31 Gallery, Seattle Washington.
2004 “Tra Est o Ovest”. GAS Gallery, Turin Italy.
2004 “Consumables”. Bumpersoot Biennale, Seattle Washington. Curated by Mathew Kangas.
2004 “Small Suprises”. Verge Gallery, Vancouver BC.
2003 Third Avenue Gallery, Vancouver BC.
CATALOGUES AND PUBLICATIONS
“Search Research, contemporary landscapes. Published by the Surrey Art Gallery, 2008.
“David Pirrie, Risk Analysis”. Published by Rich Fog, Toronto, 2006.
“David Pirrie, Independent Curator’s Selection”. Published by Rich Fog, Toronto, 2008.
“Roadrunner”. Published by the Kelowna Art Gallery, 2006.
“2004 Art Auction”. Vancouver Art gallery, 2004.
“Tra Est o Ovest, Ritratti di gallerie internazionali 2 La Galleria Atelier 31Seattle”. Published by GAS Gallery, Turin Italy, 2004.
“Subduction Zone”. Published by Verge Gallery, Vancouver, 2004.
Griffith, Kevin: “Landscape art gets complicated”. The Vancouver Sun May 31st 2008.
Selk, Jen: “Pirrie Fire”. Ion Magazine. Winter edition 2007.
Gustafson, Paula: “David Pirrie”. Artichoke Magazine of the arts, 2005.
Rubiffini, Emanuela: Giovani Artisti Italiani”.
Torino Italy 2004. Brayshaw, Christopher. The Georgia Staight Vancouver. 2004.
Engelson, Andrew: SW Pick”. The Seattle Weekly, 2004.
Nicholls, Jim: “Memory”. Arcade, The Journal for Architecture and Design in the Northwest, Seattle. 1997.
The Four Seasons Resort, Whistler BC. The Pan Pacific Resort, Whistler BC. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC.