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Emily Carr, Forest, British Columbia— In the early s, after travelling to New York, Carr moved from studies to large conceptual paintings.
These works reveal a transformation in her artfrom a preoccupation with Aboriginal subjects to conceptual explorations in which the forest and trees become armatures upon which she explores more abstract motifs. Forest, British Columbia suggests a mythologizing of the forest subject: the scene is illuminated from within, while the folds of foliage disturb the processional composition and its spatial order.
She had access to the abstract work of Bertram Brooker —reproduced in Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, —a copy of which was sent to her by friends in Toronto. Its ambiguous space is heightened by the reduction of colour, suggesting a liminal spiritual space with its own purely formal terms of reference.
The concerns of representation have taken a back seat to the spiritual possibilities of abstraction. Carr reveals similar concerns in Tree Trunk, where she seems to focus the spiritual power of growth and the energetic life force into a sweeping phallus-like form. Now serving as a tool for abstraction, her French colour training allows for unmitigated violet, yellow, and red passages.
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Emily Carr, Grey—30, oil on canvas, Emily Carr, Tree Trunk, oil on canvas, Key Works Image Gallery. Rewind 15 seconds Play Fast forward 15 seconds Download Download.British Columbia 32
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