As one of Canada’s leading photo-realist painters, Mary Pratt has exerted a tremendous influence on the world of fine art. Although she was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, she has called St. John’s, Newfoundland home for the last 50 years.
The daughter of former New Brunswick Justice Minister William West, Pratt displayed a talent for painting at a young age. At Mount Allison University she studied under Alex Colville and Lawren Harris and it was there where she met her future husband Christopher Pratt. Mary Pratt had her first exhibition in 1967 and from there, her works began appearing in galleries across Canada where her technique of photo-realism gathered significant controversy.
In 2007, Canada Post honoured Pratt’s work with her works appearing on two stamps and in the same year her portrait of then Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson was unveiled at Rideau Hall and Pratt played a pivotal role in establishing The Rooms, the provincial art gallery, in St. John’s.
Ken Rockburn spoke to Mary Pratt at her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.