Summer 2006: Emily has arrived in Ottawa!
Ottawa - May 31, 2006
From 2 June to 4 September 2006, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is delighted to invite you to Emily Carr: New Perspectives a personal encounter with Canada's famous West Coast artist Emily Carr (1871-1945). The exhibition examines the artist, celebrated equally as a painter, a writer, a feminist icon and an interpreter of her native province, from several different viewpoints. Presented by Sun Life Financial, the exhibition is a partnership between the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2006.
Emily Carr: New Perspectives is a product of the collaborative work of Johanne Lamoureux, art history professor at the Université de Montréal, Charlie Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada, and Ian Thom, Senior Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. "The starting point of the exhibition is a very interesting investigation of how the different exhibitions presenting Carr's work have contributed to the "invention" of Carr," says NGC Director Pierre Théberge.
The exhibition features some 200 objects-paintings drawings, watercolours, caricatures, ceramics, sculptures, hooked rugs, books, maps, photographs and ephemera-including about 150 works of art by Carr on loan from the NGC, the VAG and other major institutions across the country.
Rather than approach Carr's work chronologically, the exhibition focuses on three pivotal moments in time: her emergence on the national stage, the first historical interpretation of her work, and contemporary reinterpretations. The exhibition begins with a partial reconstruction of the National Gallery's 1927 show Exhibition of Canadian West Coast Art Native and Modern, which affirmed that the art of the First Nations of the West Coast was “one of the most valuable” of Canada's artistic productions and could be a source of inspiration for a national art created by a new generation of artists. In the words of Mr. Théberge, "The National Gallery's Carr exhibition not only introduced her to the Canadian public but also enabled her to meet other contemporary Canadian artists such as the Group of Seven's Lawren Harris, who became her mentor and friend."
A second section inspired by the Emily Carr Memorial Exhibition, organized in large part by Lawren Harris and presented at the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1945, the year of her death, follows. That exhibition revealed Emily Carr as a Canadian Modernist artist inspired by her immediate environment, as was the Group of Seven. It underscores her subjective rather than her ethnological approach, and her increasingly spiritual interpretation of nature evident in the sweeping brushstrokes and undulating lines that evoke underbrush, soaring trees and turbulent skies.
The final section offers a contemporary interpretation of the artist's themes. Cedars and skies are juxtaposed with the British Columbia lumber industry in the 1930s, and Carr's totem poles and other images. Her paintings of Native totems and villages are shown alongside those of earlier artists and within the context of the tourist industry of her day. Visitors will come face to face with Emily Carr through her caricatures, self-portraits and writings, and through the eyes of her friends, of art critics and of several generations of art lovers.
"Sun Life Financial is pleased to present this exhibition, which offers a unique opportunity to celebrate our country, our art, our heritage and our natural resources," says Donald A. Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Financial.
A fully illustrated catalogue, Bell audioguides in French and English, a symposium and activities for the whole family complement the exhibition. Please note that if your first name is Emily, no matter how you spell it, you can visit the exhibition for free when accompanied by a friend! All you have to do is show your ID when you arrive at the ticket counter.
After its presentation in Ottawa, Emily Carr: New Perspectives will travel to the Vancouver Art Gallery (7 October 2006 to 7 January 2007), the Art Gallery of Ontario (24 February to 20 May 2007), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (21 June to 23 September 2007), and closes at the Glenbow Museum (25 October 2007 to 26 January 2008).
The National Gallery of Canada wishes to thank Sun Life Financial as well as its media partners, la Télévision de Radio-Canada, CBC Television, Le Droit and the Ottawa Citizen. Canadian Heritage supports the exhibition through the Department of the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program.