Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daily Practice 49/365

Title: "The Astral Body of Emily Carr"

I seem to be drawn to the idea of indirect reference. First there was the photograph of photographic prints. Then there was the reflection of the swim suit and towel in the bathroom mirror. Today I was struck by the way nature prevails, it stamps itself on everything humans build, even if it is only a shadow. I was very conscious of this idea today as I took a walk around with the camera. There is something about making an image that is not one but two steps removed from the subject of the image that bears further exploration.

Emily Carr is an iconic figure in Western Canadian art, and particularly a key figure in the art history of Victoria, BC. She is particularly well known for her abstract paintings of forlorn Douglas fir trees set against swirling skies, and the rich dark interiors of the rain forest. The shadows in this image are cast by the very same trees that Carr painted, and in these shadows there is a sense of what Carr saw in her subject. Emily Carr struck up a friendship with the Group of Seven, in particular Lawren Harris. Harris was a theosophist and he attempted to interest Carr in theosophy but she eventually tired of the idea. One of the original founders of Theosophy equated the astral world with the world of ghosts, but later theosophists saw the astral body as the vehicle of feelings and emotions, an expression of the dream world "self". The softening, organic abstractions that Carr made of the west coast rain forests are full of her feelings and emotions about those sites.

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