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.
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