Emily Carr Artist Canada Forest Natives Art Presentation ~ 118 Slides
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This presentation is about artist Emily Carr, one of Canada's most beloved artists and authors. Her art is more timely than ever since its subject matter was native populations, the aboriginal people of Canada, AND the wild wilderness of coastal British Columbia and its constant struggle with preserving itself against the timber industry.
There are 20 actual slides in the preview for you to download and sample.
There is a big shift which takes place in Carr’s painting in 1910-1912. Up to this point, Carr had been schooled in art only in America and England. This time she decided to see what the French had to offer. She went to study at the Académie Colarossi in Paris.
In Montparnasse, she met modernist painter Harry Gibb. Upon viewing his work, she was amazed that he used both distortion and a bold color palette.
“Mr. Gibb's landscapes and still life delighted me — brilliant, luscious, clean. Against the distortion of his nudes, I felt revolt.” Emily Carr
She adopted Gibb’s color palette, forsaking the pastel colors of her earlier training. This was excellent because the people of the First Nations certainly did not use pastel colors in anything they made. They too were bold with color and form. The forested coastline of western Canada was hardly known for its pastel hues either. Carr’s palette now matched her future subject matters.
Paris also allowed her to take in the work of the post-impressionists and the Fauvists she met and studied with in France.She added those techniques into her repertoire as well. When she returned to Vancouver, no one was painting like Emily Carr was now painting.
Carr had two bodies of work about the First Nations villages. The first body took place early in her art career and preceded this entry. She traveled to the First Nations village and did her first paintings. Behind the trip was the idea that it would be a documentary of the First Nations and that she would sell it to the government. This idea did not pan out as the government showed no interest. Carr quit painting for years and ran a boarding house and bred dogs instead.
Then in the summer of 1928 she made a trip north to visit the First Nations villages again. That is her second body of First Nations work and one that was ultimately very well received, through to today. Those slides follow. This work is much stronger. One reason is that this time she had no idea of documenting the First Nations but solely was creating works of art. Klee Wyck was the name given to Emily by the First Nations People in Ucluelet; it means 'laughing one.’
She also had seen the work of the modernists, which affected her style so as to make it bolder and more modern. Carr was invited to participate in a show at the National Gallery of Canada in Ontario titled "Canadian West Coast Art, Native and Modern". There she met, and kept in touch with, the "Group of Seven", who were focused on creating distinctly Canadian art. She continued to show her work with them. Those artists in turn called her "The Mother of Modern Arts”.
Carr’s artistic reputation rests on her work from 1928 until the start of the 1940s with two distinct periods: her 2nd body of First Nations work; and her Natural world of her province, especially in or near its coastal forests.
Carr said that the reason she shifted away from First Nations work was that she had no personal identification with the First Nations. Her feeling grew that she was painting about a culture with symbolism that she could not begin to comprehend since she was not part of it. Perhaps she had also just said everything she had to say (then) about the First Nations and then had a great deal to say about Canada’s forests in British Columbia.
Her bringing her perspective to another culture and making first rate art about it is by no means unprecedented. We would not have Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings from his sojourn in the South Pacific had he felt that his rendering of their culture was hindered by his not being one of them. Instead, those paintings are a key part of the Post Impressionist art period.
When her health worsened (a series of heart attacks), she gave up painting for writing and turned to the First Nations once again. This time she wrote about them. Her first book was published in 1941, titled “Klee Wyck" ("Laughing One"). It is a collection of twenty-one word sketches about the Native people. She describes her adventures among them while painting. It was first published in 1941, won the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction, and has been in print ever since.
It is ironic that Carr is not only a Canadian icon but that Vancouver education in particular singled her out for being the namesake of its art university. This is because when Carr returned to Vancouver after completing her own education, she took a teaching position in Vancouver at the 'Ladies Art Club.’ She lasted a month.
She quickly alienated her students because she smoked and cursed at them in class. So they boycotted her courses. Of course, this was 1905 Vancouver and it was all ladies who were painting in her classes. Presumably there were a lot of women just seeking “accomplishments” in her classes whereas she was dead serious about her painting.
Remember, that women did not become freed from these restraints upon them until after the First World War, when they were able to become more mobile and less decorative. They would have seen their painting as wifely and motherly pursuits.
She would have a lot more in common with today’s Vancouver women art students than she had with the average woman of her own time. Perhaps the students at her university realize this too and it only enhances Carr’s already high popularity in present day Vancouver.
“Indians do not hinder the progress of their dead by embalming or tight coffining. When the spirit has gone they give the body back to the earth. the earth welcomes the body-coaxes new life and beauty from it, hurries over what men shudder at. Lovely tender herbage bursts from the graves, swiftly, exulting over corruption.” Klee Wyck
"Down deep we all hug something. The great forest hugs its silence. The sea and the air hug the spilled cries of sea birds.” Klee Wyck
“I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.”
“If you're going to lick the icing off somebody else's cake you won't be nourished and it won't do you any good,--or you might find the cake had caraway seeds and you hate them.”
“The outstanding event was the doing which I am still at. Don't pickle me away as done.”