11 December 2008

Artists among the forests of BC

Emily Carr looks very fierce in the photo on the cover of my library book about her, but here she is happily among her menagerie -And here are some of her wonderful paintings of trees in the great BC rain forest -

These make you look at the trees around you with different eyes -What attracted me to the book was these rugs that Emily hooked -
based on West Coast Indian motifs -She spent time in the Queen Charlotte Islands, drawing and painting the Indian villages there -as did other artists, setting up studios in tents -
Walter Phillips worked in the Japanese woodcut style -
These subjects were given a tremendous boost by the exhibition of West Coast Indian art in Ottawa in 1927. Here's work by A Y Jackson -

3 comments:

Libby Fife said...

Those trees look alive, wonderful and rather frightening all at one time. Thanks for the images of something I might not have otherwise seen. I will be a little more cautious on my nature hikes...

magsramsay said...

I love her work and she was such an interesting character. Have you read 'The Forest Lover' by Susan Vreeland - a novel based on Carr's life?

June said...

Emily Carr is one of my heros. She was a fierce, determined, strong woman who spent a lot of her summers alone with her animals in her "caravan" (an old wagon fitted out as a living space) painting the BC woods. Her art shows an equally fierce, often frightening, forest, one that is unyielding in its mystery and immense spirituality. There's nothing sentimental about Carr or her art and yet she is spiritually involved in those towering trees.

I particularly like the story that once Carr got a space she could use as a studio, she hung chairs from the ceiling. When you visited, you knew whether you were welcome or not by whether she took down a chair for you.

She was a late bloomer, doing her best work after she turned 50, although she also did a lot of art in her 20's, documenting the Pacific Northwest natives clan poles ("Totem" poles), carved canoes and sculpture.

A fascinating, if strange book about her is by Susan Crean, called "The Laughing One" which was Carr's nickname among the First Peoples.

Carr wrote a number of autobiographical books such as "Hundreds and Thousands." She was often in bad financial shape and ran a boarding house -- a job she detested and which kept her from being able to pursue her art. The art scene in Victoria (BC, Canada, where she lived) thought her work too ugly and rough to ever be acceptable, and it wasn't until she went east to Toronto and New York that she broke loose from the tieds of that polite Victorian society.

Sorry to go on so long, but of course, you pushed one of my buttons and I got carried away.