Summer’s Rain, Time’s Arrow (diptych), oil on jute over panel, 48” x 60” each, 2022

Austin Pratt: Artist-in-Residence, Great Basin National Park

In the Summer of 2021, I was fortunate to spend 21 days camping alone as Artist-in-Residence at Great Basin National Park, located in an extremely remote region of eastern Nevada, a land which has been stewarded for centuries by Goshute and Western Shoshone peoples. Given the time and space there, I reflected on questions of history, place, narrative, scale, painting, and love.

My work exists primarily through a studio practice of painting, drawing, and assemblage. Often grainy and caustic in appearance, my painting consists of collecting and reprocessing fragmented images, textures, and patterns from wide sources. Through a painterly organic abstraction and idiosyncratic mark-making, the paintings vibrate between elusive near-recognizable images and real physical objects. At GBNP, I was immersed in a wealth of visual and experiential information, inspired from the micro and granular levels of rock and plant distribution patterns and textures, insect marking, human drama, to the grandeur of the space, sky, and history of the Great Basin.

Environmentalist and scholar Richard G. Lillard once described Nevada, “a land that is geology by day and astronomy at night.” This beautiful observation is fact, yet only a container to support the larger poetic subtext that Nevada is alive. Vast, mysterious, and diverse–in biology, story, and pattern.