WELCOME TO MY GARDEN: a Solo by Marria Pratts

18 May - 11 June 2023
Installation Views

A garden is not something you clean. Rather, it is something you take care of, lovingly, allowing living things to grow. In Marria Pratts’ new show for Everyday Gallery, painting is envisioned along these lines. The artist has broken with the idea of the studio as a clinical white cube; instead, she treats it like a garden. Moving away from painting as a promethean confrontation between the empty canvas and the creative originality of the painter, Pratt’s creative work is aimed at allowing things to develop naturally, attuned to the small ecosystem of her studio.


Some of the canvases and painterly objects presented in WELCOME TO MY GARDEN further develop the expressive style and iconography that has made Pratts one of the rising stars of contemporary European painting. In these canvases, the eerie ghosts are starring in a leading role. They are embedded within brightly lit pink and yellow colorfields. But the new developments in Pratts’ work are just as interesting. They allow the viewer to unwrap the metaphor of the garden as a way to understand Pratt’s approach to painting, and also tell us something about how the painter’s work critically engages with the world we are living in.


One of the painterly objects on display is a pair of trodden-down Nike’s that Pratts would wear when painting. The shoes are full of paint drips and splatters, mostly in yellow and white but with an occasional touch of blue (a new color in Pratts’ work). Like the flattened, rusted paint can and heavily used spatula, these shoes are part of the ecosystem of Pratt’s studio. It is from that ecosystem that painterly work emerges, and the different elements in that system are all dependent upon each other.


With major solo exhibits in the Fundació Joan Miró and the Museu d’Art Contemporani (MACBA), both in her hometown Barcelona, the cartoon-like and expressive dreamscapes of Pratts have garnered institutional recognition. In her latest work, there is a slightly darker motive that begins to appear in her work. From the start, Pratts has been interested in a critical dialogue with the world she lives in. Dreamy pictures need not be escapist, they can easily turn into nightmares. In WELCOME TO MY GARDEN, the ghosts are more substantial. They are also darker, their eyes appear more hollow, even anxious. These ghosts might start to haunt us.


Text by Bram Ieven