Artist Biography

Mary Pratt (1935- ) is a Canadian photorealist painter born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She took her first colour lessons with her mother. She entered the Fine Arts program at Mount Allison University upon completing school. At Mount Allison, she was taught by artists Alex Colville and Ted Pulford. In 1961, Pratt graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her husband (artist Christopher Pratt). She became an art teacher at Memorial University. Pratt had her first exhibition at the Art Gallery of Memorial University in 1967.

Mary Pratt has become well known for her domestic subject matter.  In the 1980s, she produced work of greater complexity, as she expanded her subject matter to include figurative works, still life compositions, and landscapes. She used mixed media, watercolour, pastel, and charcoal, and her simple domestic images offered subtle metaphors, often of domestic aggression.

Pratt’s work has been part of several solo shows and group exhibitions across Canada and the U.S. In 1975, she was part of the exhibit Some     Canadian Women Artists, which was held by the National Gallery of Canada. In 1981, the London (Ontario) Regional Art Gallery organized a major retrospective of her work, which toured Canada. Pratt has received many awards and recognitions, including the Woman’s Recognition Award (Zonta Club, 1988) and the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize (1997). She is a Companion of the Order of Canada and has received honorary doctorates from eight Canadian universities.

Mary Pratt currently lives in St. Mary’s Bay, Newfoundland. She continues to produce work and is one of Canada’s best-loved artists.


And I quote:

“I see something, I’ve got to have it, I’ve got to keep it, I’ve got to paint it. And then after I start to paint it, I realize why” (Laurence, p.26).