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Emily Carr, an Introduction to Her Life and Art by A. Newlands

Newlands, Anne. Emily Carr, an Introduction to Her Life and Art. Toronto: Firefly Books, 1996. Print.

Engaging, attractively formatted and printed with an eye for good reproduction quality, Emily Carr, an Introduction to Her Life and Art places the images of Carr’s paintings within pages with a satisfying field of white space in equilibrium with a judicious amount of text. A well chosen selection of Carr’s most accessible and emblematic works adeptly capture both the variation of the expression, different periods and subjects of focus during Carr’s career as an artist.

Newlands commits much of the text to an insightful level of historical and personal context for Carr’s life and experiences, enhancing the accessibility of the images and providing the reader with a robust understanding of the changing focus and techniques in Carr’s work and its significance to Canadian culture. Photographic images of Carr at her most iconic and living in her assortment of strange shacks in the forest (best secret hideouts ever) are sure to capture the imagination of younger readers.

A very astute editorial choice was made to enhance the young reader’s understanding of Carr’s work and her commitment to learning and practice by including the more casual sketches and illustrative journal entries that Carr made throughout her life. The inclusion of these more unstructured and personal images contribute to a strong sense of the consistency of the creative impulses that motivated Carr and of her personal perspectives and level of commitment to her work. It is also a constructive way to introduce younger readers and artists to less formalized and accessible modes of expression and a deeper understanding of the effort and diverse mediums and approaches inherent in the individual creative process.

Newlands, a skilled and dedicated art educator who has devoted her talent to promoting Canadian art and artists, doesn’t hesitate to use awestruck, personalized and poetic language in discussing Carr’s life and work. Her enthusiasm for her subject is evident, clearly communicated and compelling.  

Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Matilda Roche