My approach to landscape is conceptual; I use landscape to
convey more than a description of a place.
I explore the intermingling of the domestic man-made with the
natural, in monoprints, mixed media paintings on panel, and
drawings: forest images & semi-transparent old furniture from a
house my mother’s family lived in for 90 years. Everyone from my
great grandmother, widow of a young painter who died in 1882,
down to my children contributed to the rich ambiance of that
house. Placing furniture from previous eras in forests I have
known creates a narrative uncertainty I find fascinating.
In both monoprints and paintings I play with the furniture's
transparency and its location in the forest: floating above,
embedded within, or buried below. Over time the furniture has
become less substantial and less grounded. The prints in my two
current monoprint suites have a quiet quality in which the
furniture sometimes disappears into an etherial forest.
Over time I have alternated doing monoprints and paintings.
The monoprints have greatly influenced the paintings. In the latter I have layered transparent colors
with the (often surprising) color results found in my monoprints, "printed" with paint, and used paint
applied linearly, influenced by small drypoint marks. Similarly, the distilled quality of a group of mostly
black and white drawings led to large, mixed media works on panel using drawing materials and
limited thin acrylic and oil paint. These works remaine open in feel and explore how scale contributes
Old growth forests show the whole life cycle of trees. Trees struck by lightning or fallen trees
with their branches making wild gestures show nature's violence. The domestic in such settings
seems jarring, although our traditions see forests as places of make-believe, of solace & spirituality, of
refuge & hidden secrets. But in the dreams of old furniture made of forest wood might there also be
dark scenes of family discord? How do these disparate domestic & natural elements resolve shared
conflict to arrive at peace at last?
Prilla Smith Brackett uses landscape to convey ideas. She is known for probing “varied
landscapes to reveal hidden beauty and hard truths.”
During 2010 Brackett had solo exhibits at Farnham Gallery, Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa,
and at Hess Gallery, Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA. Other solo venues include the National
Academy of Sciences in Washington DC, 8 locations for a traveling exhibit in the northeast and
midwest, and DeCordova Sculpture Park & Museum. Her work has also been displayed in the Art
Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA, the Portland Museum of Art , the Ashville Art Museum, the
Lancaster Museum of Art , and the Arnot Art Museum.
She received a 2012 Finalist Award in painting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Other
awards include residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the
Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Ucross Foundation, an Earthwatch award to Madagascar, and a
fellowship in painting at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. Brackett's work is in collections
such as New Britain Museum of American Art, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, the DeCordova
Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Art in US Embassies Program.
Born in New Orleans, Brackett has social science degrees from Sarah Lawrence