The Otherworldly Luminescence of Mary Pratt’s Art

Anita Lahey at The Walrus:

Moore was not alone in her writerly affinity with Pratt’s art. Pratt’s Wedding Dress graced the cover of Alice Munro’s 1990 short story collection Friend of My Youth. The late Diana Brebner won the cbc Literary Award for Poetry with a sonnet series titled “Eleven Paintings by Mary Pratt,” in which the glisten and gore of works such as Silver Fish on Crimson Foil seemed to stand in for the poet’s life-and-death struggle with cancer. I studied under Brebner in 1999, and had recently read her Pratt poems when I found myself designing an educational tour on writing from art at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. One day, I stood in the Canadian galleries, transfixed by Pratt’s Red Currant Jelly. Not then much respecting domestic pursuits, I came near resenting the painting’s hold: Jars of jelly, so what? But that jelly pulsed with light. The foil beneath the jars crackled. And the red-tinted wax smeared on the plate seemed a bed where some essential component of the light had gone to rest. In Brebner’s poem of the same name, the red jelly and jars had become “like the evidence of murder, so hard to wash away.”

more here.