“Maybe a sense of peace … they are taken in that kind of mental state, they are acts of observation.”
– Ned Pratt to Anthony Germain, on being asked what emotion he hopes his work evokes in the viewer, CBC Radio’s On the Go, May 4, 2023
“In 2022 I began working in a new proportion, 32″ × 64″,” Pratt says in his arts statement. “Essentially, these dimensions represent two squares. The change in composition offers me a new versatility and the opportunity for a more rhythmic composition. It permits me to get further back from my subject matter and changes the way I see the landscape.
“I am a simple photographer. My ideas are simple but focused and sincere. Throughout my career I have concentrated on the island of Newfoundland for my imagery. Personal history, family, memories, and sympathy toward this land and its forms are the backbone of my work. The objective in my practice has never been to treat the land as a device but to consider it to be a living poem, ancient, and written by many cultures. The photographs are not of anything that is mine, but rather images that my life has been privileged to observe.”
Pratt carefully constructs his imagery with the push and pull of foreground and background often found in painting. Influences from painting masters such as Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko and Turner are seemingly apparent through the artist’s use of mood, colour and composition. In Shadows on the Sea Fret, we are reminded of JMW Turner’s evocative atmospheric painting, The Lagoon Near Venice at Sunset. The photograph reveals through the fog, a dreamy shadow of the artist’s house in Cape Pine and the light house next to it, cast on the side of the sea fret from the intense sun setting behind, a chance happening, like a gift from another place.
Pratt’s photography flows between representational and abstraction, architectural and landscape imagery. Having a strong formal understanding to begin with, Pratt experiments with pushing boundaries to find a necessary tension in the photograph for a silent sense of the sublime
“The images are quiet, simple, complex, threatening and peaceful – but always beautiful.”
Rhythm in Place continues at Christina Parker Gallery until May 20.
(Images: Shadows On the Sea Fret, Crowleys Property, Red Shed Innovation, Two Ponds at Dusk, courtesy CPG.)