Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mary Pratt - How Simplicity Made Complexity

Peaceful Canoe - Oil

Things are never as simple as we think. I never thought of Mary Pratt's art work as simple. I know she elevated simple ever day objects found in her domestic life, and familiar scenes into complex layers of meaning. I have deep admiration and respect for Mary Pratt, and what she has achieved as a woman, and as an artist. Not only because she is an the expert, talented draftswomen, and renderer, but because of who Mary Pratt, the woman is, and the life that she has lived.

Last Monday while I was in Halifax, I got to see Mary Pratt's collection of work that spanned the years of her creative life, exhibited at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The collection was grouped in themes, as explained in the article published in The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Journal Volume 42 Fall 2014. Biography And Place, Life Stilled, The Feminine, Process And Realism.

I do have a great fondness and affection for the paintings like Jelly Shelf, and the variety of subject matter drawn from her everyday life, but I found myself wanting to see more, or something different, as I walked through the exhibit I saw some of what I was searching for, in her portraiture, and symbolic representations of what she was experiencing at a particular time.
Jelly Shelf - Oil

There are two paintings that stood out for me.  One was the portrait scene of a younger and older man holding a large cod fish.
Another Province In Canada - Oil
Threads of Scarlet, Pieces of Pomegranate - Oil

The other painting was,Threads of Scarlet, Pieces of Pomegranate, was featured prominently in the AGNS having a room of it's own. I found this painting very compelling.

The pomegranate is very symbolic in Greek mythology, as it is considered to be the fruit of the dead, and of conjugal love because of it's many seeds, and Persephone's hidden world full of undeveloped creative potential. 

Mary Pratt painted this when her relationship with her husband Christopher had ended in divorce. She has stated it was created  quite unconsciously.

Mary Pratt states herself: " My only strength is finding something where most people would find nothing ".

Upon further investigation I found more paintings of her work online I'd never seen before, that Mary Pratt described as being impressionistic. I love what I found, and wished some of these paintings had been included in AGNS collection.

Large Marsh Bird - Oil

Harbor - Oil
  I was unaware that Mary Pratt was a print maker. Her beautiful lithography below, I found online.


Mary Pratt is a simple, humble, woman with a complex and beautiful soul. Her personality and life is manifested in all of her work. Her life is her art, and her art is her truly her life, and she reflects the transformation of how the love of simplicity is made into complexity .


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Unknown said...

Thank you Janis for your comment and for dropping by.