Organized in partnership by The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia & The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery
January 18 to April 27, 2014
Mary Pratt is one of Canada’s leading photorealist painters. She brings a sharply focused, contemporary lens to deceptively simple subject matter, demonstrating sophisticated skill rooted firmly in the history of painting. Nuance of tone, angle and choice of perspective leave the viewers of Mary Pratt’s images with a sense of wonder and, sometimes, unease. Mary Pratt’s work reveals the breath of emotion, technique and maturity brought to her practice. This exhibition, the first in a public institution since 2004, offers visitors a rare opportunity to view the range, subtlety and power of this much-celebrated artist’s work.
The exhibition will present Mary Pratt in a new light. Rather than showing the paintings chronologically, it will consider her oeuvre as an interwoven conversation in themes. In Mary Pratt, works from the past 50 years will be assembled, showcasing Pratt’s “tougher” paintings (to use her own description of them) alongside works that embody the intensity with which she views her domestic surroundings. Toast in a silver toast rack, egg shells in an egg carton, a baby being bathed by her parents, or a wedding dress hanging on a tree- these substantial paintings have multiple meanings for the artist and the viewer. They are paintings that surprise us and force us to look with more compassion at our own world.
The Mary Pratt exhibition is a project by The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s, NL, and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, with support from the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, Museums Assistance Program, and also from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Changing Tides: Contemporary Art of Newfoundland and Labrador
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Guest curated by Patricia Grattan
January 25 to June 1, 2014
Diversity is the hallmark of Newfoundland and Labrador art. There has never been a shared aesthetic or approach to art making beyond a widely shared use of realism, or at least figuration, employed in a variety of different ways. Newfoundlanders, however, are famous for their deep and enduring attachment to home—an attachment that has been embraced by most incoming artists; therefore it is not surprising that the landscape and references to traditional cultural practices serve as central sources of imagery in their work. The exhibition also explores the concepts of narrative, memory, loss, and the human relationship to the natural environment.
Viewers will notice these elements woven throughout works in a variety of media: from David Blackwood’s narratives of outport communities and the seal fishery, to Labrador sculptor Mike Massie’s gently humorous “teapots”; from Mi’Kmaq artist Jordan Bennett’s interactive sculptural sound and video installation, to Scott Walden’s photo-documentation of clubs along Conception Bay; and from Gerald Squires’ romantic painting of the Barrens, to the more subtle poetry of Ned Pratt’s increasingly abstract large-scale photographs.
Mary Pratt, Jelly Shelf, 1999
oil on canvas
Collection of Equinox Gallery, Vancouver
Ned Pratt (b. 1964)
Façade, Northern Peninsula
digital photograph - pigment-based archival print
152.4 x 152.4 cm
Collection of Mr. Barry Appleton
Image courtesy of Christina Parker Gallery, St. John's, NL
Michael Massie (b. 1962)
Walrusty Teapot, 2008
silver, kingwood, lignum vitae, ebony, bone
22.9 x 21 x 17.1 cm
Private Collection, Toronto
Image courtesy of Kenji Nagi, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, BC