He was a giant.
John Leroux, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, talks about Christopher Pratt.
The famous Newfoundland and Labrador artist, who rose to international fame, died Sunday at the age of 86.
The Beaverbrook Gallery has over 50 works by Christopher Pratt and has mounted a memorial exhibition from their extensive collection.
“He is considered one of the most important artists in Canadian history since the second half of the 20th century,” said Leroux.
Tom Smart, director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, paid tribute on the gallery’s website.
“It was an intense gaze that constantly searched for resonant visual metaphors of home and also alluded to the complexity of life, his and ours.”
Pratt attended Mount Allison University, where he met his mentor, artist Alex Colville. It was also where he met his future first wife, Fredericton artist Mary (West) Pratt. All three painted in the style of magical realism, creating a sense of eerie stillness in their works, many of which have become iconic.
“That school of Magical Realism in Sackville, New Brunswick was absolutely formative, and it stayed with him for the rest of his life when he painted his beloved Newfoundland,” Leroux said.
“But he came here often. He spent a lot of time at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. He was a very strong ally for us and for art in Eastern Canada.”
The gallery has several original paintings by Pratt, as well as serigraphs.
His work often reflected the landscapes of his surroundings in Newfoundland and Labrador, but Leroux said there was also a fascination with architecture, thanks in part to his brother, a well-known architect from St. John’s. .
Pratt had the ability to combine “technical, uncompromising rigor with a… poignant sense of nostalgia and nostalgia, often for place.”
“It’s a remarkable job,” Leroux said.
“And so in his honor, we’ve hung this memorial display of seven works from our collection that really speak to his love for Newfoundland, but also about that, just the wealth of art that this man created over half a -century.”
“We’re so lucky to have him here,” Leroux said.
“There will always be a Christopher Pratt as long as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery exists.”