12/14/2013

"Emily Carr: Deep Forest" At Vancouver Art Gallery

A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth, Emily Carr, 1932-35.

This weekend is a celebration of Emily Carr's 142nd birthday. The local artist was born in Victoria on December 13th, 1871.

Emily Carr was a friend of Vancouver Island's forests. Throughout her life she sought to plumb their mossy green depths to hopefully some day say she really knew this magnificent ecosystem.

Her paintings document her quest to learn as much from the Victoria area's big trees as she could, then depict that in her images.

“This perhaps is the way to find that thing I long for: go into the woods alone and look at the earth crowded in growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind expanding, bursting, pushing its way upward towards the light and air, each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth. Feel this growth, the surging upwards, this expansion, the pulsing life, all working with the same idea…life, life, life…”
From "Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr." 


Soon you will be able to experience Carr's vision in a new exhibit of her work. "Emily Carr: Deep Forest" at the Vancouver Art Gallery will exhibit over 40 paintings starting December 21, 2013.

Most of the paintings are scenes within 25 km of Carr's home near Victoria, and were completed in the 1930s.


Scorned as Timber Beloved of the Sky, Emily Carr, 1935.


After a trip to view the exhibit, one can get first hand exposure to some of the same forests that the artist enjoyed on the south island. While vastly altered, the green fuse still drives growth and the trees still pulse with life.

"I glory in our wonderful west and I hope to leave behind me some of the relics of its first primitive greatness. These things should be to us Canadians what the ancient Briton's relics are to the English. 
Only a few more years and they will be gone forever into silent nothingness and I would gather my collection together before they are forever past."

One can visit the forest here and be surrounded by the power of nature that so gripped Emily Carr. The natural power of trees that kept her mesmerized is still to be found.

But how long before a trip to the trees yields a vast "silent nothingness"?

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