Melissa's Blog

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I went to see Emily Carr: New Perspectives at the National Gallery this weekend and it is absolutely fabulous!! The exhibit looks at Emily's work through new eyes, and examines it "...through the historical lens of 20th century exhibitions that presented her work, and in the social and political contexts that defined her world. What emerges is a compelling new portrait of this much-loved artist..."

It's amazing how many pieces are included within the exhibit, it's amazing Emily produced them all. It was also surprising at how differently she uses her medium at any given period of her career - how varied her styles could be as she learned and tried new things.

I personally loved her art from the period following when she met and was influenced by Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven. Vivid colours and a more geometric and abstract style makes her nature scenes truly unique.

I also loved her work from the late 1930s and 1940s, when she was capturing industrialization and the destruction of her beloved forests. These images definitely convey the destruction industrialization caused - sometimes the paintings ended up being incredibly sad, but sometimes they were incredibly beautiful.

The National Gallery raised a few eyebrows last week with an unconventional ad campaign leading up to the exhibit opening. The gallery decided not to show Carr's artwork in their campaign, nor did they even mention her name, instead, they ran two weeks of teaser ads, none of which contained Emily's art.

Finally, a few days before the exhibit launch, the gallary ran a large image of a young Emily with pertenent exhibit information. The idea was to create mystique and curiosity for the public, encouraging them to seek out more information and ultimately come to see the exhibit. Did it work? Only time will tell, but it certainly got my attention (not the actually ad campaign itself - which somehow I missed, but rather the hype that followed the ad campaign peaked my curiousity).

I've included a few paintings from the exhibit, although I couldn't find most of the truly great ones online, and quite honestly, the internet does not do them justice. You really need to see them life size and beautiful to fully appreciate them. This exhibit is top notch and I highly recommend it to anyone that is even modestly interested in Canadian art. The show runs until September 6th and is $10 for adults or $5 for students.


Ottawa Citizen (for info on ad campaign)

National Gallery of Canada :


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