What would your everyday life look like from an aerial view? How would the colours, structures and nature that surround you look from thousands of feet above? Kira Pretty’s debut art show helps answer this question. Home, From Above features Pretty’s breathtaking aerial shots, accompanied by a short film showcasing the landscape surrounding Woodstock, Ontario.
The show features 52 photographs, composed of a combination of analog photography and digital works. Pretty’s show is displayed at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines from September 4, 2019 until September 20, 2019.
Pretty’s work offers a one-of-a-kind perspective. In her dad’s plane soaring above Woodstock, Pretty captures the unexpected beauty of farmland, marshes and quarries that fill the southern Ontario landscape.
Pretty’s fascination with aerial shots was inspired by Edward Burtynsky, a renowned aerial photographer.
“I really liked his style and I thought ‘you know what? I want to try that,’” she said of Burtynksy’s work, reflecting on how she first saw it two years prior at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. “I had already done some aerial photography before and then I saw his show and my professor connected me to him and his style.
This inspiration coupled with help from her dad and the Woodstock Flying Club made her incredible eye for aerial shots come to life.
“I am really drawn to patterns, colours and textures so I guess it is kind of abstract, kind of naturalistic,” said Pretty, “as well as to the landscape and how painterly it can look sometimes, so I wanted to capture that. I wanted to make sure I honed in on specific aspects of the landscape instead of showing you the whole picture because I wanted people to look at it and be like ‘oh, what is that?’”
This perspective and appreciation for naturally occurring art results in a dynamic art show that allows the audience to share in this appreciation of simple, bold, unknowing beauty.
Although Pretty is a talented painter, she fell in love with photography and was inspired by the raw world around her.
“Honestly, the landscape itself is just like an inspiration all the colours and stuff,” said Pretty, “it’s amazing, I feel like I could never recreate that in a painting, that is why I am drawn to photography because you get to actually capture the natural colours that our world makes.”
Home, From Above captures the natural world in a unique way, showcasing the artistic value of ‘normal’ things, from plough grooves in a field to the colours on a garage door. Her ability to create incredible shots of everyday items comes from her affinity for unexpected beauty and portraying simplicity as a special, photograph-worthy occurrence.
“I tend to stick to themes in my work relating to memory, place, family and home because those are really things that ground me in my life, especially my family and home, so I just want people to reflect on their own lives and think ‘what is unique about my family? What is unique about my home?’” Pretty said.
“Not many people know what Woodstock, Ontario is, it is a smaller city and I get to showcase it and people get to ooh and aah at it and be like, ‘that is so beautiful’, and I get to say that is where I am from. I want people to reflect on their own lives and cherish what they cherish about their families,” said Pretty.
Pretty hopes that Brock’s commitment to putting on shows like hers serves as an inspiration for artists beginning their career. “It is really amazing that Brock allows us the opportunity to show our work while we are in school because while it is kind of daunting to crack out a bunch of work and show it to the public, it’s a nice experience,” she said
She stated her show is valuable “for students to see because they could think ‘I could do this in a few years’.”
Pretty’s talent, eye for colour and design and commitment to producing art are highlighted in the 51 prints and one video that make up the show. She is eager to see what doors this opportunity will open for her.
Home, From Above can be found in Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines from Sep. 4, 2019, until Sep. 20. Pretty’s art is also displayed on Instagram @kiraprettyart.