Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 1

Aprons in the Wind, Port Rexton, Newfoundland, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall is among the highly imaginative artists showcased at a current exhibition (through June 1) of contemporary art from the rugged province of Newfoundland at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Ontario.

That exhibition led me to Hall’s  “Apron Diaries”, a series of  installation works around the Trinity and Bonavista areas of Newfoundland in which she displays collections of aprons at worksites (such as upon fish flakes for drying salted cod or hanging at a local bakery or at a fisheries plant) as a celebration of the often unsung labor of women.   Images of wind-fluttered aprons affixed to weathered fish flakes are particularly colorful and moving (literally) tributes to women’s essential work roles in their communities. Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 2

Aprons on a Fish Flake, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 3

Aprons Festooned at a Fisheries Plant, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 4

Baking Amidst Aprons, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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Pam Hall, Apron Diaries 5

More Colorful Aprons on a Fish Flake, From Pam Hall’s “Apron Diaries”

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More about Hall , her siteworks and other art can be found at her website here.

(Image Credits:  Pam Hall)

Fort Amherst and The Narrows, St. John’s, Newfoundland

wHill-Near-St.-John's

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” 

                                                                                          ~ John Muir

Peaceful Seaside Inlet in Newfoundland

aBoat-on-the-Inlet

A Quiet Fishing Village, Newfoundland

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

                          ~Henry David Thoreau

                                                                                              

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

Artist to Appreciate: Mary Pratt

Mary Pratt, Cold Cream (1983)

Mary Pratt, Cold Cream (1983)

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Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick and living in St. John’s, Newfoundland for most of her life and career,  Mary Pratt is one of Canada’s realist painters of the highest order.  Her subject matter ranges from luminescent jelly jars and other domestic still lifes to pensive nudes and fleeting dramatic moments (such as a fire blazing in a steel barrel).  Pratt’s artwork is as much about the intricate interplay of light and color on her subjects as anything else.

In conjunction with a traveling exhibition of Pratt’s paintings organized by the The Rooms of Newfoundland and Labrador (May – Sept. 2013) and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (starting Oct. 2014), Goose Lane Editions recently published a beautiful new book, Mary Pratt (2013), which showcases much of her work.  The book features a wide selection of her paintings as well as remarks by Pratt herself and thoughtfully written essays by several leading Canadian art writers.

Along the Ruggedly Beautiful Coast of Newfoundland

View From Signal Hill Near St. John's

View From Signal Hill Near St. John’s

I’ve been way up to the wonderful province of Newfoundland and Labrador twice and both times were amazing.  If you have the opportunity to visit this gorgeous rugged place populated with extremely hardy and friendly people, don’t hesitate –just go!  For myself, I look forward to my next trip there, exploring quaint outports and inhaling into my soul more if its innumerable beautiful vistas.  From my last trip, here are a few images that I took along the coast near St. John’s and about 200 miles further northeast on the Bonavista Peninsula around the picturesque villages of Trinity East and Port Rexton, both of which sit on Trinity Bay across from the Avalon Peninsula.

Harbor Scene Nfld

A Fishing Stage on a Quiet Cove

Nfld -- Boat on Grass

Boat Pulled Ashore, Port Rexton

The Children of Fogo Island

I just finished watching a short documentary, The Children of Fogo Island, that consists mainly of observing children going about their daily play activities on this major island off the northern coast of Newfoundland.   Directed by Colin Low in 1967 in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, the film dispenses with narration in favor of a simple and melodic music track, which gives the black and white images an elegiac feel.  Aside from the nostalgia that the film evokes, there is also a sense of sadness in contemplating the tenuous hold on survival managed by the people living on this outport island.  Several years ago I had the good fortune to meet a businessman about my age in St. John’s, Newfoundland who had grown up on Fogo Island and who still held great affection for the place.  He spoke wistfully about his childhood there and how so many young people have left  due to their inability to make a living in that remote place.  This film brings me back to that conversation as well as the simpler times of a generation or so ago — which all children amazingly reinvent in their own way.

Link to video:  http://www.nfb.ca/film/children_of_fogo_island

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