New Gallery Space at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

Category: arts 40

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery has announced a new gallery space dedicated to the rich history of the fine arts program at Mount Allison University, with a major new acquisition on permanent display.

Mary Pratt, Supper Table, 1969. Oil on canvas, 61 x 91.4 cm

(Fredericton) The Beaverbrook Art Gallery has announced a permanent gallery space dedicated to the rich legacy and continuing energy of visual arts at Mount Allison University. 

The faculty and graduates of the Fine Arts department in Sackville, NB, helped foster one of the most important art institutions in Canada. From its founding in the mid-19th century to the present day, many of Canada’s most beloved and respected artists have taught at the Mount Allison School of Fine Arts or have graduated from its program. The Gallery will honour many of these significant individuals and their works in a new 1,000-square-foot gallery space, rotating the works and artists periodically to keep the narrative vibrant for visitors. 

The list of artists presently shown includes such luminaries as: Alex Colville, Mary Pratt, Christopher Pratt, Tom Forrestall, Stanley Royle, John Hammond, Thaddeus Holownia, Christian McKiel, Lawren P. Harris, and Dawn MacNutt. Special attention will be paid to the works of Christopher and Mary Pratt, as the gallery has been recently enriched with substantial donations of the artists’ works, and to honour their longstanding connection with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Of particular significance is a recent purchase by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Mary Pratt’s iconic 1969 painting Supper Table, a stunning work that will be on permanent display in the new gallery space. The painting depicts the moment right after their family meal was over, the table filled with dishes, glasses, condiment bottles, and leftover food items. The painting was the first instance where the artist used slides to capture a fleeting moment which would have been lost moments later. It is considered Mary Pratt’s first masterpiece. This major acquisition by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is accompanied by various sketches, drawings, and prints from the artists’ estate that will also be on display in the new space. 

John Leroux, Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, says that “Supper Table is a crucial work in Mary Pratt’s lifelong quest for depicting the magical and ephemeral effects of light and colour. Here, she gives a spread of seemingly mundane dining table objects an air of majesty and gravitas. She turns a simple bottle of ketchup into a jewel-like prism of ruby red light.” Leroux considers the painting “one of the most important artworks in recent Canadian history.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery continues to be open while construction is completed on the Harrison McCain Pavilion. Entrance to the gallery is through the former café doors. A full list of our exhibitions and program offerings can be found on the Gallery’s website.

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