New Emily Carr Paintings at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery

Think you’ve seen all the Emily Carr masterpieces at the Vancouver Art Gallery? Big Raven, with those bold colours and shapes echoing aboriginal carvings.  Cedar, with its undulating sea of needles.  Zunoqua of the Cat Village, with its enigmatic totem in the foreground.

Well, you’re in luck.  21 paintings by Emily Carr spanning the length of her career – and never shown publicly before at the museum – are on display right now at the Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the new exhibit, Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection.

In total, 178 works are on display on the gallery’s first two floors.  They include the Emily Carr paintings, as well as a collection of contemporary and historic aboriginal masks, photo-based works and even art from Mexican modernists like Diego Rivera. The works are all on loan from the private collection of local developer Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa.

Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery

The signature Carr painting in the new exhibit is a masterpiece titled War Canoes, Alert Bay.  A trio of brilliantly coloured canoes sits in the foreground.  Behind, a group of first nations clusters under a solitary pine tree.  In the background, bare tree trunks are barely visible on a pastel-colored hillside.

But the new exhibition isn’t simply a rehash of Emily Carr and historic first nations carvings.  Also on hand are contemporary works by aboriginal artists, including a massive, five-meter tall painting called Burying Another Face of Racism on First Nations Soil.  The overtly political work shows a giant tree made of ovoids and formlines, as well as a human figure with holes in its body representing emptiness.

Shore, Forest and Beyond will be on display through Jan. 29, 2012.  Tickets to the Vancouver Art Gallery are $17.50 for adults, $6.25 for kids 5-12.  If you’re on a budget and still want to see these masterpieces, stop by Tuesday after 5 p.m., when admission is by donation.


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