Audain Art Museum Presents a Fresh Look at Emily Carr

The GOODS from Audain Art Museum

Whistler, BC | Open to the public since September 21, Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing – French Modernism and the West Coast reveals compelling new details about Carr’s early French period and its profound influence on her extraordinary career. As the most ambitious exhibition in its three-and-a-half-year history, the Audain Art Museum has gathered over 50 works by Canada’s most influential female artist. Added to many gems from the Museum’s collection, important historical works from across Canada and rare paintings by Carr’s French instructors provide a captivating new look at Carr’s evolution.

In 1911, Carr returned from a 16-month trip to France with a new understanding of French Modernism and a radically
transformed painting style. This sojourn was the catalyst, pulling Carr away from conformity, and resulting in expressive works of art that have stood the test of time.

“Studio experiences in Paris, ‘en plein air’ painting in the French countryside, and encounters with international artists, such as Henry Gibb, Duncan Fergusson, and Francis Hodgkins, had a profound impact on Emily,” says Kiriko Watanabe, the Audain Art Museum’s Gail & Stephen A. Jarislowsky Curator. “This critical period shaped Carr’s body of work, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world.”

Emily Carr, War Canoes, Alert Bay, 1912, oil on canvas, 64.93 x 81.28 cm, Audain Art Museum Collection, Gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa, 2018.054

The exhibition follows Carr’s footsteps from Crécy-en-Brie, Saint-Efflam, and Concarneau in France, to Skeena Country, Haida Gwaii, and Alert Bay in B.C. Upon her return to Victoria, Carr employed her new approach to painting. France had changed her art forever.

Carr’s shift in perspective is essential to understanding the development of modern art in Canada. “The art world was
fed up,” she proclaimed in a speech made in 1930, “saturated with lifeless stodge – something had to happen. And it
did.” This historic address, later known as “Fresh Seeing”, is referenced in the exhibition title. Although her new style was not widely recognized until later, viewers now greatly appreciate the deliberate and difficult road Carr traveled.

Fresh Seeing is presented by RBC with the support of major sponsors Heffel Fine Art Auction House and Tom and Teresa Gautreau, as well as financial assistance from the Government of Canada through the Museum Assistance Program. The exhibition is generously supported by PACART as the exclusive transportation provider and the hotel partner – The Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

The exhibition is co-curated by the AAM’s Watanabe and Dr. Kathryn Bridge, Emerita Curator, Royal BC Museum. After
the show closes on January 19, 2020, the exhibition will travel to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New
Brunswick. A full colour illustrative companion publication produced by the Audain Art Museum features a transcript of Emily Carr’s 1930 speech, along with essays by Watanabe, Bridge, Carr researcher Michael Polay and art critic Robin
Laurence.

About the Audain Art Museum | Established in 2016, the Audain Art Museum is a leading arts organization founded upon the major philanthropic gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa. Located in Whistler, British Columbia and designed by the internationally-renowned firm Patkau Architects, the AAM boasts a comprehensive Permanent Collection of the province’s most celebrated artists. Exemplifying the richness of cultural difference in Canada, the collection takes visitors on a transformative visual journey from the late 18th century to present. Highlights include hereditary Haida Chief James Hart’s The Dance Screen (The Scream Too), an exceptional collection of historical First Nations masks, and key examples of the Vancouver photo conceptualism movement. In addition, the Museum hosts dynamic exhibitions from around the world with a variety of associated educational programs.

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