Friday, June 19, 2015

Emily Carr in Toronto

While it hasn't had the rapturous praise of the Emily Carr show in London, there are certainly good reasons to go see the Carr show at the AGO (which runs through early August, so there are roughly six weeks left to go see this).  The main reason is that it is an opportunity to see Carr paintings that are not from collections in Vancouver or Victoria.  While those institutions (the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria) have the deepest collections, it gets to the point where if there is a Carr painting reproduced in a catalog, it inevitably is from out west.  It is nice to mix it up a bit.

That said, I was a little disappointed that my favourite Carr painting from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria ("Blue Sky") didn't actually make it into the exhibit.  Here it is below.

Emily Carr, Blue Sky, 1936

The catalog of the exhibit is nice, and again, one of the first books to include paintings from collections in Ontario and Quebec.  I did manage to take the kids, and in general, they seemed to enjoy it.  It did help that there weren't huge crowds, as there were for much of the Basquiat show's run.

One of the odder things about the catalog is that, apparently, the painting of totem poles owned by Hart House (at U of T) was included in the London leg of the exhibit but not the AGO.  I went back twice to try to find it, and it just was not there.  I cannot remember now whether I ever saw the Carr painting at Hart House while I was going to UT.  I suspect they kept it somewhat out of the way, which is just as well, as a few paintings from Hart House were recently stolen.

The painting not on view at Hart House is one of her better totem pole paintings, but I must admit that generally I don't find these all that interesting.

Emily Carr, Kitwancool Totems, 1928

At any rate, as I was searching for this painting, I found out that the reason it was not available is that there is a touring exhibit of paintings from the Hart House collection (details here).  Apparently back in Feb. and March, there was an expanded show at Hart House that I missed completely.  I suspect it wasn't that well advertised in the papers, as I generally do keep on top of the listings.  At the moment, the paintings are in Kelowna, BC through mid July, and then September through November they are in Kingston at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.  I will try to remember to make a trip out that way (perhaps another train trip) to see the show.  Perhaps I'd show the family the Queen's University campus, which I remember was pretty nice.  Not sure it would be an overnight stay or just a day trip.  That would depend a lot on the train schedule and what else was going on in and around Kingston that weekend.

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