Past Exhibitions

Western Landscapes
Emily Carr, E.J. Hughes, Ann Kipling and Gordon Smith

March 7 to May 18, 2009


E.J. Hughes
Mount Cheam and the Fraser River, 1959
oil on canvas
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Gift of RBC Capital Markets


The landscape of British Columbia remains a major subject for artists. This exhibition presents works from the permanent collection which take the region’s landscape as their subject, but are remarkably different in terms of approach. Beginning with the pioneering images of Emily Carr, the exhibition also examines the realist work of E.J. Hughes, the visionary drawings of Ann Kipling and the expressionist landscapes of Gordon Smith.

Emily Carr’s work was influenced by her deep love of the natural world, her spiritual beliefs, post-Impressionism and the dramatic forms of the Group of Seven. In contrast to Carr, E. J. Hughes had a meticulous, thought-out approach to his work. Every compositional element is carefully considered and Hughes achieves a kind of surreal stasis in his renditions of human impact on the BC landscape.

Ann Kipling’s vibrant landscape drawings are, like Hughes’, the result of direct contemplation of the world. She begins and ends each drawing in the landscape itself, the image the result of a direct, highly personal and extended connection to her subject. Her interest is in capturing the movements of light and wind within the landscape.

Gordon Smith has painted the landscape of this province for more than sixty years with an approach reflective of his deep interest in the forms and colours of the natural world coupled with his intense connection to paint and how it can be manipulated. Working in the studio from studies and more recently from photographs, Smith continues to produce dynamic works that explore the edge between abstraction and figuration.

The exhibition is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by
Ian Thom, senior curator, historical.