Saturday, July 03, 2010

Emily Carr, close to home

This is my favourite Emily Carr painting, it is in the collection at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

First thing this morning I was listening to CBC Radio 1's morning show in Victoria and they interviewed the curator at the Victoria Art Gallery about the new On the Edge of Nowhere permanent Emily Carr exhibition that opened this week. This is exciting news. The gallery used to have a small number of their Carr's in a rotating exhibit at the back of the building, but they listened to feedback: 3/4 of everyone entering the gallery asked, "where are the Emily Carr's?" So... they created a new space, by the front door of the gallery, and dedicated it to Carr's work. The gallery's entire collection - 42 pieces - is on display, spanning from her very early works to those at the end of her life. There is also a space for works on loan from other galleries - they are pleased with what's on loan to them right now, as apparently there aren't a lot of Carr's totem pole works in the permanent collection.

The story of On the Edge of Nowhere phrase was shared. This phrase is known to be attributed to Emily Carr, but most people think it means that she was a loner, when in fact she was just the opposite. She was a great networker in the Canadian art world. The phrase came from when she was turned down a major gallery - perhaps Canada's National Gallery ? - and she said something about "they wouldn't exhibit works from a woman living on the edge of nowhere"... lol

Anyways, after the interview, they had a pair of tickets available. All you had to do was email in the 2 countries where Emily Carr had studies. The good news is that they covered this in the interview. I knew she had studied in the US (I remember reading about her earliest studies in San Francisco), but I had forgotten she had studied in Paris as well. The good news about the Victoria morning show, over the Vancouver morning show, is that you have less competition for prizes! Just to help me out, I said that if I won, I'd take my 88 year old mom, who is a huge Emily Carr fan.... and it worked! We won the passes.

I told mom this morning, and she was equally excited.

Just now, evening, we were chatting about Emily Carr, and she mentions, as an aside, that she knew Emily Carr's sisters. Whoa, stop the presses! I did not know this!!! I love when we have time to have long chats, and something like this just comes out, by accident.

Now it was my turn to be excited.

It turns out that she not only knew the sisters, but she had actually met Emily Carr. Sweet!! Mom says she didn't "know" Emily, but she had met her. There was somewhere in Vancouver where Emily would take an old truck and paint, and people could walk by and see what she was doing, and talk to her.

She knew the sisters. When we spoke, she said there were 2 or 3 sisters, and at least one of them was a teacher.

She also said she knew another artist (or knew of?) who ended up with an Emily Carr painting on the ceiling of her house. I'm not sure if this was in Vancouver or Victoria...

Anyways, how cool it was to just find this out. I'm interested to find out if my sister knew about this. Maybe I knew it once and I forgot.... but maybe it just never came out before. I'll be sure to give her lots of time to talk about Emily Carr and will see what else we can stir up in her memory...

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