A comparison between Carr's life and that of van Gogh reveals certain similarities, despite the distance of time and space between them. Both were intensely driven individuals, both were isolated from their peers, and both liked nothing better than to work alone "en plein air" (outside). Given their similarity of working styles, it is perhaps not surprising that both exhibited similar fundamental principals in their artwork. Carr's mature style was the summation of everything she had learned - to capture a unity of movement that flowed between and through all things.
A comparison between Carr's life and that of van Gogh reveals certain similarities, despite the distance of time and space between them. Both were intensely driven individuals, both were isolated from their peers, and both liked nothing better than to work alone "en plein air" (outside). Given their similarity of working styles, it is perhaps not surprising that both exhibited similar fundamental principals in their artwork. Carr's mature style was the summation of everything she had learned - to capture a unity of movement that flowed between and through all things.

© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.

An abstract oil painting of tall, skinny trees against a rich and vibrant glowing blue sky.

An abstract oil painting of tall trees against a rich and vibrant glowing blue sky.

Emily Carr
The Thomas Gardiner Keir Bequest
c. 1936
CANADA Vancouver Island and vicinity, British Columbia, Vancouver Island and vicinity, CANADA
Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
AGGV 1994.055.002
© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.


"I woke this morning with "unity of movement" in a picture strong in my mind. I believe that van Gogh had that idea. I did not realize he had striven for that till quite recently so I did not come by the idea through him ... I see it very strongly out on the beach and cliffs. I felt it in the woods but did not quite realize what I was feeling. Now it seems to me the first thing to seize on in your layout is the direction of your main movement, the sweep of the whole thing as a unit. One must be very careful about the transition of one curve of direction into the next, vary the length of the wave of space but keep it going, a pathway for the eye and the mind to travel through and into the thought. For long I have been trying to get these movements of the parts. Now I see there is only one movement. It sways and ripples. It may be slow or fast but it is only one movement sweeping out into space but always keeping going ~ rocks, sea, sky, one continuous movement."1
"I woke this morning with "unity of movement" in a picture strong in my mind. I believe that van Gogh had that idea. I did not realize he had striven for that till quite recently so I did not come by the idea through him ... I see it very strongly out on the beach and cliffs. I felt it in the woods but did not quite realize what I was feeling. Now it seems to me the first thing to seize on in your layout is the direction of your main movement, the sweep of the whole thing as a unit. One must be very careful about the transition of one curve of direction into the next, vary the length of the wave of space but keep it going, a pathway for the eye and the mind to travel through and into the thought. For long I have been trying to get these movements of the parts. Now I see there is only one movement. It sways and ripples. It may be slow or fast but it is only one movement sweeping out into space but always keeping going ~ rocks, sea, sky, one continuous movement."1
1Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006), 154.
© 2006, Douglas & McIntyre. All Rights Reserved.

Looking out at the sea and distant shore one sees mountains and clouds in the sky with wavy sort of lines depicting movement

Looking out over the cliffs at the sea and distant shore one sees mountains and clouds in the sky with wavy sort of lines depicting what Carr calls ‘unity of movement’

Emily Carr
Anonymous Gift
c. 1936
Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
CANADA Vancouver Island and vicinity, British Columbia, Vancouver Island and vicinity, CANADA
AGGV 1977.162.001
© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.


Emily Carr scholar Kerry Mason discusses Carr’s artistic evolution by highlighting her training, techniques, and influences

Emily Carr scholar Kerry Mason discusses Carr’s evolution as an artist by highlighting aspects of her training and techniques as well as her influences and by referencing several of Carr’s paintings at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Hello, I’m Kerry Mason, I teach history in art and the University of Victoria. My specialty is Emily Carr and Northwest Coast Art.

For this brief video I’m going to focus on one chapter of Emily Carr’s fascinating life and works, her mature period. It begins with Emily Carr’s participation in the “Exhibition of West Coast Art” in December, 1927 where she meets the Group of Seven, and the period ends with her death , March 2nd, 1945.

Of the group of seven, Lawren Harris in particular had a profound effect on her. His paintings, she said, spoke to her very soul. He encouraged her to simplify her forms, eliminate the non-essentials and exaggerate the important. His enthusiasm for her work boosted her confidence. The support and encouragement from all the members of the Group of Seven helped propel her to the heights she achieved.

In the late 1920’s Carr as also influenced by the American abstractionist, Mark Tobey, who shared his enthusiasm for Braque, Picasso, and Cubism in general. With Tobey, Carr concentrated in creating more contrast in her work and also experimented in breaking the subject into geometric forms.

Two works from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria which predate Carr’s mature period illuminate themes and styles as well as subject matter of her later works.

Totem Walk, Sitka, a 1907 watercolour from her trip to Alaska is an example of Carr’s early, academy base representational style and also and early example of two of the main themes in Carr’s work which came to full expression in her “mature period”: First Nations subject matter and forest landscapes.

We see in Brittany Coast, a wonderful watercolour in which Carr has embraced Post Impressionism in the loose and vigorous brushwork, vibrant colour and realization of light. In Fauve style she has made the leap from a detailed, realistic study to an emotional, spontaneous response.

The lessons learned in France come through in Carr’s much later and exuberant paintings of Broom, Beacon Hill Park, and the sky paintings such as Sea and Sky, all of which were painted in the last 15 years of her life. Above the Gravel Pit is another oil on paper work where we see the quick brush strokes, rich colour, disregard for detail and supreme manifestation of emotion in the energetic composition. These 1930s - 1945 paintings are spiritual paintings. Many are ecstatic expressions of Carr’s personal connection with God. For Carr, nature was the manifestation of God and the paintings of the sky and forest landscapes of her mature period are celebrations of this.

Emily Carr’s death at the age of 73 marked the passing of a courageous, vibrant woman whose talents live on in the legacy of her writings and art. At the time of her death Emily Carr was recognized as Canada’s foremost woman artist/writer; today her stature as one of Canada’s greatest artists continues to grow.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Kerry Mason, History in Art Instructor, University of Victoria
1927 - 1945
UNITED STATES
FRANCE
Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.


Emily Carr scholar Kerry Mason discusses Carr’s artistic evolution by highlighting her training, techniques, and influences

Emily Carr scholar Kerry Mason discusses Carr’s evolution as an artist by highlighting aspects of her training and techniques as well as her influences and by referencing several of Carr’s paintings at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Hello, I’m Kerry Mason, I teach history in art and the University of Victoria. My specialty is Emily Carr and Northwest Coast Art.

For this brief video I’m going to focus on one chapter of Emily Carr’s fascinating life and works, her mature period. It begins with Emily Carr’s participation in the “Exhibition of West Coast Art” in December, 1927 where she meets the Group of Seven, and the period ends with her death , March 2nd, 1945.

Of the group of seven, Lawren Harris in particular had a profound effect on her. His paintings, she said, spoke to her very soul. He encouraged her to simplify her forms, eliminate the non-essentials and exaggerate the important. His enthusiasm for her work boosted her confidence. The support and encouragement from all the members of the Group of Seven helped propel her to the heights she achieved.

In the late 1920’s Carr as also influenced by the American abstractionist, Mark Tobey, who shared his enthusiasm for Braque, Picasso, and Cubism in general. With Tobey, Carr concentrated in creating more contrast in her work and also experimented in breaking the subject into geometric forms.

Two works from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria which predate Carr’s mature period illuminate themes and styles as well as subject matter of her later works.

Totem Walk, Sitka, a 1907 watercolour from her trip to Alaska is an example of Carr’s early, academy base representational style and also and early example of two of the main themes in Carr’s work which came to full expression in her “mature period”: First Nations subject matter and forest landscapes.

We see in Brittany Coast, a wonderful watercolour in which Carr has embraced Post Impressionism in the loose and vigorous brushwork, vibrant colour and realization of light. In Fauve style she has made the leap from a detailed, realistic study to an emotional, spontaneous response.

The lessons learned in France come through in Carr’s much later and exuberant paintings of Broom, Beacon Hill Park, and the sky paintings such as Sea and Sky, all of which were painted in the last 15 years of her life. Above the Gravel Pit is another oil on paper work where we see the quick brush strokes, rich colour, disregard for detail and supreme manifestation of emotion in the energetic composition. These 1930s - 1945 paintings are spiritual paintings. Many are ecstatic expressions of Carr’s personal connection with God. For Carr, nature was the manifestation of God and the paintings of the sky and forest landscapes of her mature period are celebrations of this.

Emily Carr’s death at the age of 73 marked the passing of a courageous, vibrant woman whose talents live on in the legacy of her writings and art. At the time of her death Emily Carr was recognized as Canada’s foremost woman artist/writer; today her stature as one of Canada’s greatest artists continues to grow.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Kerry Mason, History in Art Instructor, University of Victoria
1927 - 1945
FRANCE
UNITED STATES
Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
© 2007, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Curriculum Link (BC) – English Language Arts; Social Studies 10/11; Comparative Civilizations 12; Visual Arts 9/10/11/12; Information Technology 9/10

Learning Objectives:
· Students will compare the themes, purposes, and appeal of different communications – biography, autobiography, journal, story etc.
· Students will learn of the new approach that Carr applied to her painting and examine the relationship between the use of particular image-development strategies and intended mood and message.
· Students will evaluate the skills and techniques associated with the use of particular materials and processes in a given work.
· Students will evaluate how content and form influence and are influenced by personal, historical, social, and cultural contexts.
· Students will analyze the roles of various artists and the visual arts in reflecting, sustaining, and challenging beliefs and traditions in society.
· Carr’s experimentation with movement in her painting drew many comparisons with Van Gogh. Students will view the painting in this learning object and explain how the interaction of art and artists from different contexts can affect their style, purpose, and meaning.
· Students will appreciate how the arts communicate culture.
· This learning object will allow students to demonstrate their ability to use the Internet to access, capture, and store information.
· Students will use information technology tools to gather and organize information and produce documents.
· By interacting with this object students will demonstrate an awareness of the impact of electronic resources on education, careers, and recreation.


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