Home Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing – French Modernism and the West Coast

Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing – French Modernism and the West Coast

by Meredith Areskoug
Emily Carr, Brittany Street Scene, 1911, watercolour on paper. Audain Art Museum Collection. Purchased with funds provided by the Audain Foundation. 2017.013. Image courtesy of the Audain Art Museum.

AUDAIN ART MUSEUM, Whistler BC – Sep 21, 2019 – Jan 19, 2020

by Christine Clark

Any artist who has ever travelled away from their own small town understands the infl uence an entirely new landscape can have on their work. Spending time in France is especially inspiring. The architecture of Paris, the seascapes in Brittany, and the art, everywhere. Emily Carr, aged 39, returned for her second trip to Europe in 1910 and spent 16 months working and living in France. By that time, Carr had been painting seriously for about 20 years. She had studied in San Francisco and in England, and she had started travelling to and painting Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island.

On her return to the West Coast in 1911, she brought home with her a renewed style of painting. Her work had been entirely transformed by her time spent studying French Modernism in the company of fellow painters and teachers Henry Phelan Gibb, John Fergusson and Frances Hodgkins. Cocurators Kiriko Watanabe and Kathryn Bridge have gathered 50 pieces of Carr’s work from before, during and after her sojourn in France. These works include oil paintings, watercolours and drawings, illustrating the change in Carr’s palette and in her brushwork. The fall exhibition at the Audain Art Museum (AAM) will feature a selection of works by Gibb, Fergusson and Hodgkins.

To accompany this important exhibition, the AAM is also preparing a 160-page publication of the same title for release in October 2019. The catalogue explores Carr’s evolution as an artist through photographs and reproductions of her paintings. It includes the writings of Emily Carr as well as essays by Carr scholar Kathryn Bridge, Carr researcher Michael Polay and others.

audainartmuseum.com