Skip to main content

A detail of Emily Carr's Tree Trunk, 1931, oil on canvas, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Trevor Mills/Vancouver Art Gallery

"In the forest think of the forest, not of this tree and that but the singing movement of the whole," Emily Carr wrote in her journal in 1935. Emily Carr: Deep Forest, now at the Vancouver Art Gallery, features more than 40 of the extraordinary forest paintings she created mostly in the 1930s, a crucial period in her artistic process.

With the encouragement of Lawren Harris, she had returned to art with a new focus on the forest landscape rather than the totemic work that had defined her earlier work. The pieces in Deep Forest, almost all from the VAG's permanent collection, are alive with the light, the darkness, the spiritual forces in the forest.

There is often a sense of danger lurking in the canopied lushness, and power. Take Tree Trunk, 1931. The magnificent brown trunk dominates, thrust before curtains of green and blue foliage. The painting has strong overtones of life, sexuality, strength. The Georgia O'Keeffe influence here is apparent.

Story continues below advertisement

"There's nothing else like this in her work," says Ian Thom, the gallery's senior curator, historical, who curated the exhibition. He says these paintings were the culmination of Carr's practice; it was the forests of British Columbia that allowed her to express her vision. "It's really the pictures she paints after 1928 that made her a great painter." Emily Carr: Deep Forest, at the Vancouver Art Gallery until March 9, 2014.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter