The biggest name in B.C. art is back for a blockbuster show at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
More than 40 paintings from celebrated landscape painter Emily Carr will be on display at the gallery starting Dec. 21. The show, called Deep Forest, focuses on pieces Carr painted in the 1930s, most depicting scenes around her Victoria home.
Carr’s paintings are widely regarded as the most important representation of B.C.’s landscape in the early part of the 20th century. Her works show B.C.’s forests and coasts not as still, quiet places but as active, threatening and powerful environments. Native symbols and artifacts are present throughout Carr’s paintings, adding an additional layer of meaning and history.
Her work has only grown in renown as the years have passed. Last month a Carr painting called The Crazy Stair – depicting a looming totem pole next to a forest pathway – sold at auction for $3.4 million. That brings the total amount of cash brought in by Carr paintings at auction house Heffel alone to $50.6 million.
The works on display as part of Deep Forest are nearly all part of the Vancouver Art Gallery‘s permanent collection. The gallery boasts the world’s most significant trove of Carr’s pieces – 254 paintings, drawings and other works, only a fraction of which are generally shown at one time.
Born in 1871 in Victoria, Carr was one of the first painters in Canada to embrace modernism and post-impressionism. The main themes in her mature works include the forests of Canada’s West Coast, driftwood-scattered beaches and images of native life she observed on Vancouver Island and throughout B.C. and Alaska.
Overtime, Carr transitioned from a more traditional landscape style to capturing the emotional and mythological essence of natural scenes, often using highly stylized and even abstract geometric forms. While associated with the legendary Group of Seven landscape painters, she did not receive widespread recognition for her work until later in life.
Emily Carr: Deep Forest runs Dec. 21-March 9 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
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