|(Source: Gooselane Editions, 2013)|
Back when I was a feckless university student, I ended up going one day to an exhibit of Mary Pratt's work at the Art Gallery of NS. As undomestic as I was back then, her work moved me tremendously and she instantly became one of my favourite artists. She paints, with breathtaking results, objects that you find in any home, often the kitchen. Her images of bowls of jelly, saran wrap covering food and fruit are so realistic it is hard to believe that they are paintings and not photographs. There is a retrospective exhibit in Halifax right now celebrating her work and recently there was an article on cbc.ca quoting her impressions of her own work. As I read her thoughts, looking back at many of her creations, I really understood where she is coming from. Time and time again I see in my midst things of beauty. Symbols of where I am today that I feel compelled to capture somehow, albeit it with oceans less talent and skill than Mary Pratt. I also was reminded that Mary Pratt is one of my earliest, and most influential creative inspirations in my creative work today.
"I don't mind celebrating the domestic-I mean, how could we get along without it?"
"I think it's nice, frankly, to remember the things I had to do because they were sometimes very difficult, but in those days I could do it, I can't anymore-I mean, I can hardly walk across the floor."
In the cbc.ca article, she goes on to say that painting the stuff of domestic life was not a sign of her limited world view, but rather expressions of the beauty in every day objects that she felt she had no choice but to capture.
"People have told me all about my paintings-people are very good at that. They'll tell you that, you know, because you were confined that you painted fruit in a bowl and all that kind of stuff."
"Well, I don't know, the fruit was in the bowl, and it looked nice to me-it looked good-it looked as if it wanted to be saved."
She also says that painting these objects was a way of transmitting and dealing with her emotions.
"I have found life very emotional and difficult to stay even, and I think that perhaps that comes out in the paintings-certainly I would never paint anything that didn't strike me emotionally something that didn't physically bother me."
"And I suppose if there is emotion in the paintings, that's why-because there was emotion in me."
Her words make me realize that capturing things of every day life, these things of beauty, bathed in light, is a way of seeking and restoring wholeness.
It is not always easy to see how gazing at a watermelon or a jam filled jar might make one feel more whole, but Mary Pratt's work does just that.
To read the full article at cbc.ca go here.
Cut Watermelon (Source: trinitygalleries.ca )