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AGO to offer new perspective on a beloved Canadian icon with From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia

Spring 2015 exhibition explores Carr’s encounters with the landscape and indigenous art of the Northwest Coast through 140 paintings and artifacts 

TORONTO — A boundless explorer, inquisitive experimenter and thought pioneer, Emily Carr created works of art that reflect the dramatic impact of her encounters with the indigenous cultures and the formidable landscapes of British Columbia in the first half of the 20th century. Breathing new life into Carr’s legendary fascination with the Pacific Northwest through the display of archival materials, paintings and artifacts, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia in spring 2015. A joint project and collaboration between London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery and the AGO, the exhibition runs in Toronto from April 11 to August 9, 2015.

Curated by Canadian art critic Sarah Milroy and Ian Dejardin, Sackler Director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia comes to the AGO following its debut at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, where it will be on view from Nov. 1, 2014, to March 8, 2015. Tracing a dramatic journey from darkness to light, and from winter to summer, the exhibition features nearly 100 paintings, watercolours and drawings by Carr, including rarely seen sketches, works drawn from private collections as well as the recently discovered illustrated journal Sister and I in Alaska, in which Carr documented her pivotal 1907 trip up and down the Northwest Coast. Visitors will be invited to explore with Carr as she responds to this landscape and its indigenous communities, searching for a sense of place and self in both her brooding forest scenes and the euphoric skyscapes of her late career.

“Emily Carr, one of Canada's most beloved and esteemed artists, lived at the intersection of two cultures. This exhibition gives us the opportunity to bring those artistic traditions together and approach her work with a new, contemporary lens,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s director and CEO. “We have culled the best works from institutions across the country and have made no compromises. I’m delighted to collaborate on a project of this calibre with the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Like the artists of the Group of Seven, who made their 2011 London debut at Dulwich in Painting Canada, Carr is poised for discovery by the wider world and for rediscovery here at home.”

In dialogue with Carr’s paintings, the exhibition features more than 40 historic indigenous artifacts from the Pacific Northwest Coast, including masks, baskets and ceremonial objects by Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Salish, Tsimshian and Tinglit makers.

“Through her art-making, Emily Carr communicated her passion to root herself in a new landscape, finding her path to connection through a reckoning with native culture, which she strived to understand and to honour,” said Sarah Milroy. “Born in Canada to English parents and exposed to the indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast through her travels and research, Carr demonstrated her attachment to both indigenous culture and European artistic and literary tradition. This exhibition explores Carr’s art and with it the paradoxes of the colonial imagination.”

The exhibition features loans from the Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, the National Gallery of Canada and the Royal British Columbia Museum, as well as various Canadian private collections. A catalogue will be available in March 2015, with essays by Dejardin and Milroy as well as contributions from writers and artists Corrine Hunt, Peter Doig, Jessica Stockholder, James

Hart, and Marianne Nicolson; leading Carr scholars Charles Hill, Ian Thom, Kathryn Bridge and Gerta Moray; and noted British and Canadian anthropologists Robert Storrie and Karen Duffek.

From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia is included with the price of general admission and is free to AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

The exhibition is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Dulwich Picture Gallery with the generous collaboration of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Royal BC Museum.

Lead Sponsor: RBC Wealth Management

Lead Individual Supporter: Michael and Sonja Koerner 

Supporting Sponsors:
Heffel Fine Art Auction House 
Power Corporation of Canada

Generously supported by:
Richard M. Ivey
Gretchen and Donald Ross
Elizabeth Tory

Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery, founded in 1811 and designed by Regency architect Sir John Soane. It houses one of the finest collections of Old Masters in the country, especially rich in French, Italian and Spanish Baroque paintings and in British portraits from the Tudor period to the 19th century. The Gallery’s permanent collection is complemented by its diverse and critically acclaimed year round temporary exhibitions.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

April 5, 2014 – July 20, 2014: Francis Bacon & Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty

Aug. 23, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015: Alex Colville

Oct. 18, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015: Michelangelo: Struggle for Genius

The Art Gallery of Ontario receives additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364,


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