National Gallery celebrates Christopher Pratt
Ottawa - September 28, 2005
The National Gallery of Canada is marking Christopher Pratt’s 70th birthday with a new exhibition highlighting the Newfoundland artist’s large-scale oil paintings from the last 20 years. Christopher Pratt is on view at the National Gallery in Ottawa from 30 September 2005 to 8 January 2006.
Pratt has said, “I have either painted or thought about painting every day of my life since I was 16.” In the process, he has become one of Canada’s most recognized and accomplished artists. Born in St. John’s in 1935, Pratt has lived in Newfoundland for most of his life, and works from his home on the bank of the Salmonier River south of St. John’s.
Christopher Pratt features more than 60 precisely rendered landscapes, seascapes, buildings, interiors and figures, as well as some study drawings and biographical material on the artist. In many of these works, the repeated shapes of familiar subjects capture Pratt’s imagination - boats, clapboard walls, windows, blinds, stairs and waves. In painting these motifs, Pratt celebrates what he calls the “immense presence in ordinariness … the dignity of things that have nothing going for them beyond the fact of their existence.”
“The National Gallery of Canada is proud to celebrate the career of Christopher Pratt, a Newfoundland icon and a great Canadian artist,” says Pierre Théberge, Director of the Gallery. “The simplicity of Pratt’s paintings is magically deceptive. Rather than provide a narrative, these works compel us to fill in the blanks, to imagine what has happened, and what will happen next.”
Curated by Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Christopher Pratt brings together works drawn from the National Gallery’s own collection, as well as from public and private lenders across Canada. The exhibition is made possible thanks to a generous personal contribution from I. David Marshall to the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, of which he is a member of the board of directors. Mr. Marshall is Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.
“Christopher Pratt is one of this country’s foremost living artists, capturing the Canadian soul in his spare and spiritual paintings,” says Marshall, a longtime collector of the artist’s work. “I have been an admirer of Mr. Pratt for many years, and it gives me great pleasure to support this magnificent exhibition.”
The Bell Audioguide that accompanies the exhibition features commentary and poems by Pratt himself. In addition, a full-colour catalogue is available in both English and French editions, and the Gallery’s educational Web site CyberMuse (http://cybermuse.gallery.ca/) features a video about the artist.
After its presentation in Ottawa, the exhibition Christopher Pratt will travel to Halifax (3 February - 7 May 2006), St. John’s (2 June - 4 September 2006), and Winnipeg (4 October 2006 - 7 January 2007).
Guided tour with the artist
Join Christopher Pratt for a guided tour of his exhibition on Friday 30 September at 12:15 p.m. Free with exhibition admission.
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