In The Making
This exhibition follows the creative process from the world to the studio to the gallery. It explores what leads up to an artwork, what exists alongside and what happens after an artist creates their work. Shifting over time to highlight different artists, the first installation features the work of three of the province’s most beloved and respected artists: David Blackwood, Billy Gauthier and Mary Pratt. It brings together artworks and objects from collections at The Rooms, videos of the artists at work, as well as quotes and stories to shed light on their individual processes.
MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS
“You were there, and you were a part of it, and you simply carried on. The rich, vivid environment you were brought up in, the storytelling in the community . . . well, you just simply lived it. . . . It fed the imagination, you see, forever. And exactly how that happens is a mystery. It’s an utter and total mystery.”
- David Blackwood, 2011
David Blackwood was born in 1941 in the outport community of Wesleyville (now New Wes Valley). He was awarded a Government of Newfoundland Centennial scholarship to study at the Ontario College of Art, in Toronto. At age 23, one of his etchings was purchased by the National Gallery of Canada. In 1992, the Blackwood Gallery, named in his honour, was officially opened at the Erindale campus, now known as The University of Toronto in Mississauga. The same year, Blackwood was awarded two honorary degrees: a Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary, and a Doctor of Letters from Memorial University, St. Johns. Blackwood’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in more than 90 solo and group exhibitions. His work is found in major public galleries and corporate art collections throughout Canada and internationally, including The Royal Collection at Windsor Castle and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Blackwood was awarded the Order of Canada in 1993 and was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2003. He currently lives and works in Port Hope, ON, and maintains a studio in Wesleyville.
“To find out how things actually look is a revelation. I am interested in examining my subject, to really get into it. For my subjects I go to the things of the world .”
- Mary Pratt, 1997
Mary Frances Pratt, CC, RCA (née West; 1935 - 2018) was born in Fredericton, NB. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University in 1961, having married fellow student Christopher Pratt in 1957. In 1963, the Pratts moved to a house on the Avalon Peninsula’s Salmonier River, in Christopher’s home province of Newfoundland, where they raised four children. In 1992, Mary Pratt moved into the capital city, St. John’s. Mary Pratt’s first solo exhibition was held at the Memorial University Art Gallery in St. John's in 1967. Since then, her paintings have been exhibited in most major galleries in Canada. Pratt’s works are featured in many public, corporate and private collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, The Rooms, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Canada House in England. Pratt was awarded nine honorary degrees, served with non-profit boards, government committees and cultural initiatives, and has been the subject of several books. In 1996, Pratt was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1997, she was awarded the Canadian Molson Prize from the Canada Council.
“I hope that when they look at my work, they see the culture, the land, the environment, the whole ecosystem in the North, as being all one.”
- Billy Gauthier, 2019
Born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL, Billy Gauthier is an Inuit and Métis artist and activist currently based in North West River, NL. He initially began to carve in 1996, inspired by his cousin, John Terriak, a skilled Nunatsiavut sculptor. Gauthier's work was included in the touring exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut from 2017 to 2019, with his first-mid career retrospective -- Saunituinnaulungitotluni | Beyond Bone -- presented at The Rooms in St. John’s, NL, in summer 2019. Gauthier's work has been exhibited at various art galleries across Canada, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, NS, the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON, among many others.
Image Credit: Still from film of Mary Pratt in her studio (2015). Image courtesy of Mark Bennett.