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Studio Sunday: Mary Pratt


A photo of the late Mary Pratt at work in her studio

 

New Brunswick-born artist Mary Pratt was a figurative painter who was best known for her incredibly detailed, photo-realistic paintings of household objects and still-life scenes. Throughout her artistic career, Pratt’s work tended to focus on domestic subject matter; frequently, her paintings featured food and kitchen implements, and familiar household objects.

 

Pratt’s studio looks like a warm, if slightly cramped space, although the artist herself seems totally engrossed in her work, so much so that the décor of the space probably wasn’t a big concern. The large plywood sheet on the wall behind Pratt’s easel is an interesting touch – I wonder if the wall was originally this way, just unfinished, or if Pratt herself installed the plywood as a way of protecting the wall behind against flying paint?

 

It looks as though the artist is using a heater of some sort to help dry a portion of her painting. This is an interesting approach, since it seems to suggest that the artist worked with a singular focus, chipping away at a single painted image until she could say for certain that it was finished.

The rest of the studio is well-equipped – there’s a few tables, each holding some supplies, and what looks like a counter with a sink and drawers to the far end of the room. I even see a landline telephone on the table in front of Pratt!

 

Pratt continues to be a celebrated Canadian artist, with her work even appearing on Canadian stamps from 2007. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was awarded nine honorary degrees from different universities and colleges throughout her career. In 1997, Pratt was awarded the Molson Prize, a sizeable art grant from the Canada Council. Pratt passed away in August of 2018, at the age of 83.


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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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