I LOVE MARY PRATT.
Where to begin? Well, there's the juiciness of her colour. A Mary Pratt red is too hot to touch, too luscious not to sample. Her famous painting of jelly jars cooling on the shelf evokes everything I know of promise and pleasure.
Then too, I love the subtlety of her whites. Often the white clothing of Donna (her model) becomes the canvas for small masterpieces of suggestion, annointed with refracted rainbows.
And scale! Apparently Donna was petite, and Mary's full portraits of her are life-size. I rounded a corner to find one and froze in delight. Some of the still lifes were big enough to wade in. Pratt nails the female version of "Go big or go home."
Finally, none of the other virtues might have counted or even developed without her exceptional industry. For a high realist, Pratt has an astonishing body of work. On video, she speaks of all of the sacrifices she had to make in order to paint from nine until after six daily. Foremost was the society of an extended support group of good friends. Five guilty women looked at each other, knowing that friendship is a precious thing to us and that going to visit Mary was a sort of rite celebrating that sacred bond. Kathy, Cindy, Adriana, and Christine and I all wished that Mary could come for tea and that we could welcome her, offering the best and most comfortable chair for her painful back; I dare say everyone at that superb show had the instinct to cossett Mary Pratt with laughter and love.
Mary, if you're one of the ten people who read this blog, consider yourself invited. Let us thank you for choosing deathless art over personal comfort. Your sacrifice was not in vain.
And you other nine: if you live in the GTA and if you have not yet seen this show, GO NOW, in your bathrobe if necessary. When Jon and I were in NL several years ago, there were only two Mary Pratts in The Rooms. I had a little cry. This week they were happy tears.