Artist to Appreciate: Christopher Pratt

C. Pratt, Placentia Bay in Winter (1995)

Christopher Pratt, Placentia Bay Boat in Winter (1995)

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Christopher Pratt is justly considered one of Canada’s most significant living artists.  His realistic art focuses on Atlantic Canada, particularly his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Pratt’s compositions are usually quite spare and many convey a notable sense of melancholy and reflective quietude, whether of outport cottages and other simple structures with strong architectural lines or his sweeping coastal landscapes. While his style is distinctively his own, the subdued moodiness of Pratt’s work brings to mind that of Edward Hopper and the realist paintings of Alex Colville, another Canadian master who taught at New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University at a time when Pratt was a student there.   Mount Allison is also where Pratt met his now former wife, Mary West Pratt, an equally noteworthy Canadian painter in her own right.

In 2013, the always brilliant Canadian publisher, Firefly Books, released Christopher Pratt: Six Decades, which provides a comprehensive overview of this artist’s work.  (Coincidentally, in 2013 another excellent Canadian publisher, Goose Lane Editions, went to press with Mary Pratt, a beautiful retrospective of Mary Pratt’s amazing artistry.)

C. Pratt, Blue Iron Door (2013)

Christopher Pratt, Blue Iron Door (2013)

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C. Pratt, Woman at Dresser (1964)

Christopher Pratt, Woman at Dresser (1964)

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C. Pratt, House in August (1968)

Christopher Pratt, House in August (1968)

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C. Pratt, Ingornachoix Bay -- Long Shed (2007)

Christopher Pratt, Ingornachoix Bay — Long Shed (2007)

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C. Pratt, Spring Coming Over Trout River (2009)

Christopher Pratt, Spring Coming Over Trout River (2009)

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Similar posts on O’Canada:

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Mary Pratt

•  In Memory of Alex Colville

•  Artist to Appreciate:  Michael E. Glover

31 responses

  1. I was never a fan of Christopher’s. I felt his work was cold. He had a retrospective here at The Rooms a few years back and I had a complete change of heart. I was in awe. I have also been to a poetry/journal reading of his. Good stuff.

    • Lola, I can definitely see how his art might prompt that initial response. The Rooms in Newfoundland is a wonderful arts venue, with which Mary Pratt is closely associated as you probably know. It’s interesting to me how both Pratts (Christopher and Mary) are still closely connected professionally and, my guess would be, personally. Best, Brett

  2. Such wonderful lines. I love the window frame shadows in the House in August. Something about those shadows make me believe I can see into the windows even though the blinds and curtains are drawn.

  3. Touching on why I love where I live in the desert southwest of USA – a similar clean emptiness that makes room for my soul to expand. Thanks for bringing a new to me artist to my attention.

  4. Thanks for the introduction to Pratt. His style reminds me of the artist, William Bailey. Both have a lot to say in a way that is sometimes hard to approach but well worth the try.

  5. Thank you for your beautiful space where I feel like I am treated to an art gallery even when I cannot leave the house. I love Spring Coming Over Trout River and Placentia Bay Boat in Winter, so still and graceful.

  6. How extraordinary! I was looking at this work you’ve presented here and thinking “Jeffrey Smart”, a now-deceased Australian painter well renowned for a similar style of painting. I decided to check online and here’s the Wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Smart. It seems two of his earliest influences were Alex Colville and Edward Hopper! There are some clickable links in the Wiki article to many of his paintings, if you’re interested to see them. It’s interesting that the list doesn’t contain his most famous work, 5 o’clock in Collins Street, a brown painting depicting people going hither and thither along Collins Street, a main street in Melbourne’s CBD, at home time. It’s one of my favourites. As to these paintings, I am attracted to all of them but particularly enjoy the vastness of Spring coming over Trout River, and the delicacy of Woman at Dresser.

    • Janina, I had not heard of Jeffrey Smart before (thanks for the link) and just viewed several of his pieces. I definitely see the connection between his work and Colville’s. Finding those similarities and common influences in visual art adds to the enjoyment. Thanks for sharing this.

      Best, Brett

      • Brett, I must apologise to you. My reference to the painting “Collins Street, 5 pm” was by another famous Australian, John Brack — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brack (this wiki article shows a picture of the painting I’m referring to). Sorry! I guess similarities in style are not a new thing, but my fading memory is! Cheers! ;)

      • Janina, the nice serendipity of that is that makes two painters that I’d not heard of before that you’ve made me (and, perhaps, others as well) aware of! Best, Brett :)

  7. Pingback: Artist to Appreciate: Christopher Walker « O' Canada

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