Christopher Pratt, legendary Canadian painter, dead at 86

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Christopher Pratt, the creator of internationally acclaimed artwork, has died, throwing a mysterious and mysterious aura into the landscape of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was 86 years old.

He died early Sunday morning, his family said in a statement.

According to a family statement, “He died at his home on the Salmoner River in 1959, surrounded by family and friends.

He has survived by four children and another family. The acclaimed painter Mary Pratt, who was described as his “best friend and sometimes wife” in a statement from his family, died in 2018.

“For many, it’s a big loss. Canada has lost a great artist,” said Emma Butler, a friend of Pratt and the founder of the Emma Butler Gallery in St. John’s.

During his extensive and successful career, Pratt was often referred to as one of Canada’s greatest painters and was appointed to both the Order of Canada and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. His work is held in coast-to-coast galleries, including the National Gallery of Canada.

His decades of painting and prints focus on the landscape and experience of Newfoundland. A barren stretch of the Trans Canada Highway, with snow falling on the upward dolly overlooking the ocean. Pratt, in his signature meticulous style, takes the viewer to an area somewhere between the real and the surreal, often admiring the eeriely illuminated landscape.

“His paintings have magic,” said Fredericton’s director of the Beaver Brook Gallery. Chris Pratt: 60 years.

“He is called a magical realist for some reason. When you look at his paintings, it’s like they’re looking back at you.”

Whiteway winter, 2004 painting by Pratt. (Chris Pratt / Miragoddard Gallery)

That uneasy gaze marked much of Pratt’s art.

“His paintings are very deep,” Smart said. “You can appreciate the painting. He draws buildings and landscapes that everyone knows, but when he starts to see it, he says,” Wait a minute. What’s happening here? There is. ” “

Pratt did not keep secret that his work edited the clutter of the world. He cleaned and straightened the lines to create a complex alternative version of reality.

“Straight lines and precision, and all of them-control of my work-are just façade,” Pratt told CBC Radio. Work hard In 2018.

“My life, my thoughts, my anxieties, nothing but neat, controlled, and orderly.”

Christopher Pratt’s 2013 painting, Argentina: Ruins of Fort McAndrew: Post-Cold War. Argentia, a former World War II US military base on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland, was a popular place for Pratt to visit and paint. (Chris Pratt / Miragoddard Gallery)

From coalition to flag design

Pratt’s work gives some simple answers. Instead, they reward those who are willing to spend time with them, and what they say about his deep love for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“He loved this place. He loved this wild, unpredictable, beautiful place,” Butler said.

“And he traveled it, he painted it with love and awe, and if you couldn’t see love and awe in his painting, you say I just missed that. “

Pratt’s 1998 Oil Painting Benoit Cove: Winter Hut. Pratt frequently traveled around Newfoundland and included this fish plant in his route. (Chris Pratt / The Rooms Collection)

That love led to an extraordinary honor given his pedigree. Pratt was born in the gray age of the government in 1935 after Newfoundland relinquished autonomy to Britain, and was effectively operated as British territory until the Union with Canada in 1949.

Both sides of Pratt’s family extended the generation in Newfoundland, and many of them categorically opposed joining Canada. Pratt became Canadian at the age of 13, and he often said that in the pre-Union era he had vibrant memories and associations.

Then in 1980, as his artistic career went into full swing, Pratt was chosen to design the state flag (until then, Union Jack was working).

Pratt used his prominent work ethic to create dozens of flag designs, and then to the design of the flags that are still flying today, including a subtle nod to the history of Britain, maritime and Beosuk in the place. I was calm.

The flag was split on arrival, and Pratt was sometimes ambiguous about it — he once agreed with himself under pressure to help break the deadlock among politicians on design. I described it as a “show doctor” — but it was clear in some respects.

“I did my best,” he told the CBC in 1980.

“I think the Commission might have found a better designer. I wouldn’t argue with that, but I would humbly say that no one would have been more concerned about the state.”

The Newfoundland and Labrador flag, designed by Pratt, was announced on April 29, 1980. (National / CBC Archive)

“I love what I do”

Pratt spent almost all his life on the east coast of Newfoundland, but earned a medical degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, Newfoundland and left the state early for higher education.

The medicine did not last long. Pratt was drawn to the school’s art department and fell into the spell of his early leader and teacher, Alex Colville. His style influenced Pratt himself.

Mount Allison also introduced Pratt to his future first wife, Mary. Together with them, Colville and the painter Tom Forestal promoted a school of magical realism painting and empowered Canadian art in the Atlantic Ocean, which would define the national landscape for decades. I did.

With a degree in art from both Mount Allison and the Glasgow School of the Arts, Pratt returned to Newfoundland and Christopher began his career in earnest. His work was well received early on, and in addition to curation and education, he was able to devote himself to his art.

Pratt worked in many media, including watercolors, as seen in his 2004 painting, Fall At My Place (Some Shadows On My House). (Chris Pratt / Private Collection)

“I love my job. I don’t think it’s a job. I never have it. So far, I’m fortunate enough to have a really good life, a rich and satisfying hobby. That’s what Pratt said in a 2015 interview. His retrospective “The Places I Go” focuses on clear aspects of his life and work. This is a road trip to Newfoundland.

Pilgrimage of Pratt

Pratt frequently traveled extensively on the island, like a “pilgrimage.” Mireille Eagan curated The Places I Go as a curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, a cultural facility in St. Johns, including the State Museum.

Egan made two such trips with Pratt and ran thousands of kilometers through Newfoundland in search of a muse.

Befitting such a disciplined artist, his expedition was well-ordered. Eagan said he visited the same place every time, from his parents’ graves to the buildings he painted and the rest areas on his favorite highways.

“He talked to me on the way, and all the rivers we passed, all the trees that made sense to him, he talked,” Eagan said.

“I will talk about the history of this state that he knew intimately …. It was important for him to remember this place, and he did so through his paintings.”

“If there is a big theme in his painting, it’s a work that is an image seen from the road,” Smart said.

Dear Lake: The 1999 Pratt Oil Painting of the Dear Lake Powerhouse, Junction Brook Memorial, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, a gift from David and Margaret Marshall. (Chris Pratt / Miragoddard Gallery)

The trip included stops such as one of his most famous works, the Dear Lake Powerhouse, a majestic building of the sparkling Marion. Dear Lake: Junction Brook Memorial.

“It’s just such an extraordinary picture,” Smart said.

“You’ll wonder why he turned his attention to this power plant and spent so much time drawing it … but seeing it and traveling to the landscape is very satisfying to me. Gives. That too. “

The title of the painting implies memories of wild waterways for a long time after being tamed for human use. The electricity is supplied to a pulp and paper mill in nearby Corner Brook. A subtle nod of the number of times Pratt used his art to testify to history in his beloved state.

Believing in that serious edge, “the road trip with Chris Pratt is pretty interesting,” Eagan said. They listen to Frank Sinatra and jazz, and the human warmth behind many winter paintings can be seen through.

“He was a very humble person. He can come across a bit cold, but not. He was a humble and compassionate person,” she said.

Pratt also said he was a complex man who sought honest and deep thoughts from his friends and family.

1965 screen print by Lynx and Pratt. (Christopher Pratt / Beaver Brook Art Gallery)

“Very personal” painter

The dynamics of his family were notoriously complex. Mary Pratt initially set aside her artistic career to support her husband and raise her four children (John, Ann, Barbara, Ned), but she was Quartey. She began to embrace her immense talent for portraying Dian in the noble.

Christopher remarried and the two divorced after decades of marriage, but artistic ties and respect remained.

“Both Mary and Christopher told me they saw each other excellence, artistic excellence, and tremendous creativity,” Smart said.

“Through their careers, they worked closely together, especially near the end of both lives, where they reconciled and had a deeply respectful conversation that influenced each other’s artistic practices,” Eagan said. Told.

Trongate Abstract is a 2018 painting inspired by the devastating fire that broke out at Glasgow School of the Arts, Pratt’s alma mater a few years ago. Pratt devoted his work to his ex-wife, Mary Pratt, after her death. (Chris Pratt / The Rooms Collection)

Mary Pratt died in 2018 at the age of 83.That same year, Chris Pratt Trongate abstractInspired by a devastating fire at his alma mater, The Glasgow School of the Arts.

A seemingly cool composition hints at emotions, but only if you flip it over to the “to Mary” dedication.

“His paintings are very personal and feel deep,” Eagan said.

“Many people will look at his work and say,’Oh, it’s very cold,’ but that’s not the case …. This is the way to remember. And when you look at him, the picture, we look at him. I am. “

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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