Mary Pratt first came to public attention as an artist in the early 1970s, and she remained there for the rest of her career. She was the subject of numerous solo exhibitions—including two nationally touring retrospectives—and of many books and articles. Pratt was also a frequent subject of interviews. She kept journals and wrote occasional pieces for the media or public presentations, excerpts from which were selected in 2000 for her one self-authored book, A Personal Calligraphy. What follows is an introduction to the sources and resources available for this important Canadian artist.


Major Exhibitions


Mary Pratt exhibition at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s, May to September 2013
Installation view of Mary Pratt exhibition at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s, May to September 2013, photographer unknown.



Atlantic Awards Exhibit, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax. First professional exhibition.


Paintings by Mary Pratt, Memorial University Art Gallery, St. John’s. First solo exhibition.


Morrison Gallery, Saint John. First exhibition in a commercial art gallery.


Canadian Graphics. Nationally touring exhibition.


Newfoundland Painters, Picture Loan Gallery, Toronto.


Mary Pratt: Paintings, Erindale College, University of Toronto (now University of Toronto Mississauga).


Mary Pratt: A Partial Retrospective, Memorial University of Newfoundland Art Gallery, St. John’s. Travelling exhibition.


SCAN (Survey of Canadian Art Now), Vancouver Art Gallery.

9 of 10: A Survey of Contemporary Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Hamilton.


Some Canadian Women Artists, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.


Mary Pratt: New Paintings and Drawings, Aggregation Gallery, Toronto. First solo commercial exhibition in Toronto.


Mary Pratt, Museum London. Nationally touring solo exhibition.


Mary Pratt, Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto. First exhibition at Godard, where Pratt would exhibit until her death.


Aspects of a Ceremony, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver.


The Art of Mary Pratt: The Substance of Light, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton. Nationally touring solo exhibition.


Simple Bliss: The Paintings and Prints of Mary Pratt, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina. Nationally touring solo exhibition.


Mary Pratt: Allusions, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario.


Mary Pratt, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, St. John’s and Halifax. Nationally touring solo exhibition.



Writings by Mary Pratt

“Feature.” Newfoundland Herald 53, no. 50 (December 12–18, 1998): 47–49.


A Personal Calligraphy. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2000.


“Perspectives.” Education Canada 38, no. 4 (Winter 1998–99): 40.


“Reflections on the Pond.” Toronto: Mira Godard Gallery, 1992.



Selected Critical Writing

Articles, Interviews, and Reviews

Barnard, Elissa. “The Life and Art of Painter Mary Pratt.” Chronicle Herald (Halifax, NS), December 7, 2014.


Mary Pratt’s book A Personal Calligraphy, 2000
Cover of Mary Pratt’s book A Personal Calligraphy, 2000.
The Art of Mary Pratt: The Substance of Light, 1995, by Tom Smart

Cover of The Art of Mary Pratt: The Substance of Light, 1995, by Tom Smart. 

Bruce, Harry. “The Fine Art of Familiarity: Mary Pratt Paints as She Lives—Close to Her Kitchen Sink.” Canadian, November 29, 1975, 16–20.


Burnett, David. “Some Canadian Women Artists: The National Gallery of Canada.” Artscanada 32, no. 4 (Winter 1975–76): 54–58.


City Desk. “From Lens to Canvas: Maritime Artist Goes for Realism.” Windsor Star, September 27, 2013.


Clarkson, Adrienne. “Portrait of a Friendship: Former Governor-general Adrienne Clarkson Recalls Her Long, Close Acquaintance with the Brilliant Painter, Whose Artistic Vision Combined Beauty and Pain.” Globe and Mail, September 4, 2018. 


Cronin, Ray. “She’s All Pratt and More.” Coast Life 2, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2001): 13.


Gopnik, Blake. “Mary Pratt’s Perfect Pictures.” Globe and Mail, July 20, 1996.


Graham, Mayo. “Some Canadian Women Artists.” Artmagazine 6, no. 24 (December 1975–January 1976): 15.


Gwyn, Sandra. “The Newfoundland Renaissance.” Saturday Night 91, no. 2 (April 1976): 38–45.


Laurence, Robin. “Pratfalls: The Bride Strips Bare Her Bachelor.” Border Crossings 15, no. 2 (Spring 1996): 12–17.


———. “The Radiant Way.” Canadian Art 11, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 26–35.


Miller, Earl. “Mary Pratt: Summer.” Arts Atlantic 16, no. 2 (Spring 1999): 22–23.


Murray, Joan. “Joan Murray Talking with Mary Pratt.” Arts Atlantic 2, no. 1 (Spring 1979): 34–41.


Mary Pratt, 2013
Cover of Mary Pratt, 2013, edited by Mireille Eagan and Sarah Fillmore.

Pinchin, Karen. “Retrospective Celebrates the Subversive Vision of Painter Mary Pratt.” Globe and Mail, July 16, 2013. 


Rynor, Becky. “Mary Pratt: A 50-Year Retrospective.” National Gallery of Canada Magazine, November 14, 2013.


Sabat, Christina. “Visual Arts in Review.” Daily Gleaner (Fredericton), June 26, 1982.


Sandals, Leah. “Drawn to the Domestic.” National Post, August 23, 2007.


Scott, Michael. “The Incredible Lightness of Being Mary Pratt.” Vancouver Sun, January 6, 1996.


Shaughnessy, Jonathan. “Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision.” National Gallery of Canada Magazine, April 1, 2015.


Simpson, Peter. “The ‘Erotic’ Jellies of Mary Pratt.” Ottawa Citizen, April 4, 2015.


Townsend-Gault, Charlotte. “Distant Lines: Art in Newfoundland.” Vanguard 13, no. 10 (December 1984–January 1985): 22–25.


Whyte, Murray. “Mary Pratt: A World of Small Things.” Toronto Star, January 17, 2014.


Books and Scholarly Papers 
Buzzell, Judith E. “Media Orientation of Four Women Artists: Questions and Implications for Teaching Art.” Master’s thesis, Concordia University, 1989.


Cronin, Ray. Mary Pratt: Still Light. Kentville, NS: Gaspereau Press, 2018.


Deadman, Patricia, and Robin Laurence. Simple Bliss: The Paintings and Prints of Mary Pratt. Regina: MacKenzie Art Gallery, 2004.


Eagan, Mireille, and Sarah Fillmore. Mary Pratt. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2013.


Gwyn, Sandra, and Gerta Moray. Mary Pratt. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1989.


Mastin, Catharine M. “Beyond the Artist’s Wife: Women Artist-Couple Marriage and the Exhibition Experience in Postwar Canada.” PhD dissertation, University of Alberta, 2011.


Rasporich, Beverly Matson. “Locating the Artist’s Muse: The Paradox of Femininity in Mary Pratt and Alice Munro.” In Woman as Artist: Papers in Honour of Marsha Hanen, edited by Christine Mason Sutherland and Beverly Matson Rasporich, 121–44. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1993. 


Reid, Verna Maud. “Occupying the Threshold: The Construction of Self in the Work of Sharon Butala, Aganetha Dyck, Mary Meigs and Mary Pratt.” PhD dissertation, University of Calgary, 2003. 


Smart, Tom. The Art of Mary Pratt: The Substance of Light. Fredericton: The Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Goose Lane Editions, 1995.



Mary Pratt at work on Girl in Wicker Chair, 1978
Mary Pratt at work on Girl in Wicker Chair, 1978, photograph by Christopher Pratt.

Darling Kovanic, Gillian, prod. The Other Side of the Picture. 1999. National Film Board in association with CBC. 


A Conversation with Mary Pratt. MUN ETV.


In Conversation: Mary Pratt and Mireille Eagan.


Introduction: Mary Pratt. The Rooms/Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


The Life and Times of Mary and Christopher Pratt. CBC, 1996.


Mary Pratt: This Little Painting. Masterpiece in Focus. National Gallery of Canada, 2015.


Mary Pratt at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Canada Art Channel, 2013.


Rockburn Presents: Mary Pratt. CPAC, 2003.


Smith-Strom, Patricia, dir. “Infused with Light: A Journey with Mary Pratt.” Adrienne Clarkson Presents. Aired 1997 on CBC TV.


Talking Mary Pratt: Jonathan Shaughnessy and Mireille Eagan in Conversation. National Gallery of Canada, 2015.



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