Mary Pratt has become one of Canada’s most distinguished artists, celebrated for her work with familiar subject matter and domestic still lifes. The deceptively simple bliss of these scenes reveals a sophisticated approach to everyday life. Her works are skillfully executed and present nuances of tone, brushstroke, angle and choice of subject that leave viewers of Pratt’s images with a sense of wonder and occasional unease. These substantial artworks have multi-layered meanings for the artist, and for the viewers who encounter the range, subtlety and power of this remarkable painter. At once highly contemporary and deeply rooted in the traditions of art history, Pratt’s work reveals the breadth of emotion, skill and maturity that she brings to her practice.
The exhibition Mary Pratt is not a retrospective in the customary sense of the word. Concentrating on Pratt’s oils and mixed media paintings, the exhibition juxtaposes more than sixty works from different times in Pratt’s career. It mirrors the manner in which she approaches her subject—as an interwoven conversation of themes. Despite describing herself as “consistently inconsistent,” Pratt has enduring preoccupations. Her time is not dictated by clocks but rather numbered by daily rituals and the act of making ready. Pratt dwells on her surroundings, allowing a sideways autobiography through the objects and individuals that encompass her.
Touring nationally, the exhibition allows visitors across the country to view widely recognized as well as rarely seen works from the past five decades, gathered from private and public collections. It showcases Pratt’s “tougher” paintings (to use her own description of them) alongside allusive works, all embodying the intensity and compassion with which she views her world.
For more details: www.mcmichael.com/marypratt/
Location: McMichael Canadian Art Collection — 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, Ontario