Photostory #510: Christopher Pratt of Newfoundland

John Reeves
National Film Board of Canada
Release Date
September 1, 1970
CMCP fonds
Credit Line
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archive
Main Text
In progress Photostory 1/9 : Meticulous research of subject matter followed by precise and rigorous execution - these are the overriding qualities which place Christopher Pratt's paintings among those of today's foremost realists. Primarily an oil painter, this 35-year-old native of Newfoundland also produces work in ink and tempera, pencil and the serigraph technique of silk-screen printing. Living and working on the shores of St. Mary's Bay in southern Newfoundland, Christopher Pratt's pictures are a series of flawless images of the regional scene. Their exactness tends to place them one step ahead of even the modern photographic camera to the point where the subject can be seen as it would have appeared if both it and the recording camera were perfectly correct with no aberrations. _x000B__x000B_The subjects contain no disorder. There are no cracked windows, no peeling paint, no marks of time or careless abuse. All is as the builder of the subject wished it to appear forever. This is realism by a perfectionist who is impervious to time or pressure and who attains his object through pure intensity of purpose. Despite all this attention to detail, Pratt's work is alive with creativeness. He spends long hours wandering the shores with the salt-sea spray flying in the wind, days of studying the patterns of nature in wood, stone and sand. Often weeks are spent looking at a potential subject in all lights and weathers and thinking of it while fly-fishing for the wild Atlantic salmon. Many times he sketches the same object time after time until the perfect posture is found. These things are the things of an artist, the plasma of soul that pervades and breathes life into the detailed draftsmanship and delicate techniques of the accomplished painter. The results present simple subjects - doors, windows, boats, barns, cheese - with a dignity and timelessness far more permanent than that possessed by the original. Thus the painting of a shop closed on Sunday becomes the embodiment of all the shops closed on all the Sundays, past, present and future. _x000B__x000B_Christopher Pratt studied at the Prince of Wales College, St. John's, Newfoundland, the Glasgow School of Art and Mount Allison University, Sackville, Nova Scotia. In the last decade he has had 10 exhibitions and collections of his paintings are held by 14 galleries, universities and private companies and many individuals. _x000B__x000B_An exhibition of 40 paintings by Christopher Pratt is at present touring Canada. The itinerary includes: > Agnes Etherington Art Gallery, Kingston, Ontario, September 1970 > Vancouver Art Gallery British Columbia, October 1970 > Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta, November 1970 > Victoria Art Gallery, British Columbia, January 1971 > Confederation Art Gallery, Prince Edward Island, February 1971.