CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

David Silcox and Meriké Weiler.

Scarborough (ON), Prentice-Hall, c1982.
(A Key Porter Book).
190pp, cloth, $60.00.
ISBN 0-13-133645-2.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by J. E. Simpson.

Volume 11 Number 4.
1983 July.

Christopher Pratt is, with the possible exception of Alex Colville (with whom he studied), Canada's leading metaphysical artist. His taut, spare oils, drawings, and screen prints offer as penetrating an examination of the nature of place and time as one is likely to encounter in art. Windows, doorways, sections of walls, endless stretches of sky and water; these are the deceptively modest material from which his studies issue. And although some of his work contains figures or furniture that trigger associations of human passage, his most profound statements on existence, and the most invested of mortality, are seemingly the most empty. The calibration of space and tone is so exquisitely acute that the expectancy evoked by his compositions is palpable.

Christopher Pratt is a haunting book. The brooding images that dominate its pages (seventy in colour) are illuminated by the candid and perceptive observations of the artist, which read like poetry and provide some glimpse of a gifted mind at work. He chooses his words with the same scrupulous care as his lines and his colour, and, commonly, with the same piercing accuracy.

An assessment of Pratt's contribution to Canadian art by David Silcox, fittingly entitled "Night Window," occupies twenty pages at the beginning of the book; twelve pages of biography by Merike Weiler conclude it. They are affectionately written passages and provide a wider context in which to encounter the man and his work. But such is his power, that he could just as easily have managed without them.

J. E. Simpson, Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton, AB.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works