Two weeks ago I visited the AGNS to see the Mary Pratt exhibition that has been showing for the past few months, and I was totally blown away! It’s an interesting coincidence that I got to see her work only a few weeks after I experienced a huge exhibit of Alex Colville’s work at the AGO because she studied under Colville at Mount St. Allison University in New Brunswick where she received her Bachelor of Fine Art in 1961.
Mary lived and raised a family in Newfoundland, and all the while was creating the most stunning paintings of everyday domestic life. Most of her subjects are of food, but she has also created gorgeous figurative paintings, many of which featuring the same model.
She draws attention to the way an artist might see the world around them, and by that I mean, she takes takes it all in, and pays close attention to the details around her. She finds beauty in her everyday life and translates that beauty to her canvas.
She takes subject matter that we are all so familiar with, and elevates it by describing it in paint and presenting it an an art piece. The tiny, simple moments in life she brings to your attention and asks you to consider them.
I can’t even begin to describe how blown away I was when I saw the work above. It’s a turkey cooking under tinfoil. She so beautifully painted the tin foil, paying such close attention to every fold, every shining piece of light and dark. In the description next to the painting there was a quote directly from Mary stating that not everyone will cook a turkey under tin foil, but it helps to keep it warm when you are entertaining. The painting in a way is describing her work as a mother, a wife, a friend, a caretaker, a nurturer.
It was awesome to be able to see her work up close because when you stand right in front of her work. The paintings look photographic from a distance, but when you get up close, you see the beautiful abstract brush strokes all working together like a symphony.