Fredericton art gallery hopes Carr exhibition makes impression on East Coast
FREDERICTON -- She remains one of Canada's most celebrated artists, and now for the first time Maritimers can see 55 of Emily Carr's paintings in one place -- Fredericton's Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Carr moved from a realistic perspective to an impressionist and, a century later, Carr still leaves an impression on Canadians.
She's remembered as one of the country's most profound artists, but the exhibit that will soon be on display at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a rare collection from a time when Carr was testing the boundaries of what she could do.
"She is such a fascinating individual who, as a female artist at the time, would have encountered so much difficulty just even practising art and making her living," said Kiriko Watanabe, the Audain Art Museum’s Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky curator.
This exhibit will showcase two sides of Carr's talent: pieces from when she spent a year in France in 1910 and work she did after returning from France.
"She completely transformed from being an artist who represented things accurately to an artist who was an impressionist artist," said Kathryn Bridge, curator emerita, Royal British Columbia Museum.
When she returned to her home on the West Coast, she began visiting isolated Indigenous communities.
"That's where she depicted First Nations monumental art, as well as the people who lived there," said Watanabe.
Though she had a substantial body of completed pieces in 1913, Carr had a difficult time making a living as an artist.
She returned to the canvas in the 1920s, catching the attention of Lawren Harris, a Group of Seven member.
Today, Carr is celebrated for her energy, expression and bold brush strokes.
"You will never get a chance to see some of these pictures ever again, and all collected together," said John Leroux, the manager of collections and exhibitions at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. "It's a fantastic collection of works by one of the most iconic Canadian artists."
Some of the pieces come from international and national public collections, but others are owned by private individuals, rarely seen in public.
"It tells you the story of a courageous woman who had travelled wide and far, and when the mainstream society had not supported paintings of local, indigenous communities in this manner," said Watanabe.
Carr is celebrated most in her home on the West Coast, but the curators behind this collection are hoping it leaves an impression on the East Coast.
It officially opens to the public on Saturday, Feb. 29 and runs until May 31.