Mt. Alberta, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 63 x 88 in.
Mt. Robson (Cain Face), 2014, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 60 in.
David Pirrie’s passion for mountains has developed steadily since the age of 12 when he first started hiking under the guidance of his older brother. When his brother passed away in ‘92, the mountains became a source of remembrance for the years they spent combing the back mountains along the coast - a symbol of their bond. Since that time David has summited hundreds of peaks spanning the coastal range, including the majority of those between Grouse and Pemberton. It was impossible for Pirrie not to notice significant changes in the health of these glaciers over the years, with most of their mass having receded 50 percent and many of them vanishing entirely.
These seemingly indestructible snow-capped monoliths function as a gauge of our planet’s health, clearly indicating in which direction our world is headed. The mountains also function as a symbol of time and its relativity. They are forever changing at a glacial pace - from the perspective of these mountains our lives and existence are a mere blip. The dots are overlaid in an act of human mapping or claim-staking, representing in one sense an unnatural interference with the landscape in our attempt to define and control it, rather than live with it. With the recession of the glaciers reflecting the slow demise of our eco-system, these mountains remind us of our transient existence on this planet. In our tenuous fragile origins as living creatures we struggled to obtain dominion over the earth. Now, in an ironic twist, our survival now means our destruction. Just as our inevitable return to the earth is a fact, so it is a fact that these mountains over the eons will erode, re-arranging and sorting their particulate matter within the vast incomprehensible logic of the larger system.
David Pirrie’s new show The Mountain Survey Project runs at the Ian Tan Gallery from April 3 - 30.