The Written Word
Emily Carr House
The show is a result of Sharpe’s seven year journey researching the lives and art of Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe and includes Sharpe’s award winning hybrid film – “Bone Wind Fire” ; a display of props from the film and a new painting series by Sharpe.
Sharpe began painting at the age of 13 and remembers fondly her family’s annual pilgrimage to the McMichael Gallery outside Toronto where she first encountered Carr’s painting. “I noticed one woman’s work hanging on the wall and even at the age of 8 I think it showed me what was possible”. Sharpe went on to become a documentary filmmaker with a passion for painting. She was selected by Queue Magazine “as one of the 21 artists of the 21st century who would change the face of BC Culture”. When she came across Sharyn Udal’s book “Carr, O’Keeffe & Kahlo – Places of Their Own” she had just spent 3 years painting in a Mexican collective in Oaxaca Mexico. She felt this was the ideal material to combine her passions and experiment with film as a large canvas.
The filmmaking process was a labour of love. Sharpe sifted through 6,000 journal pages and thousands of paintings, to create a film entirely from the women’s own words. Katherine Monk from the Vancouver Sun calls it “a rich impressionistic essay on nothing less than the artist’s place in the universe”.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada the film is currently touring festivals and galleries in North America and Europe. It won Best Canadian Film at the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), received an Artistic Innovation Award from Vancouver Women in Film and Television and won Best Short Documentary at the Sonoma International Film Festival.
At the Emily Carr House audiences will find the film playing half hourly; a replica of Frida Kahlo’s dress (hand embroidered silk by Vancouver’s Jane Abbott of Arcana Designs); a cow skull from Georgia O’Keeffe’s world and a new painting series by Sharpe hanging in Emily Carr’s “People’s Gallery”.
Each painting in the series is inspired by a frame in the film. In a sense I too passed through three worlds in their making. Not simply through three lives – but through three temporal realities. My process started with an exploration of the women’s internal/external landscapes deciphered from their paintings and words. Using dramatic techniques and animation, a moving painting was created for the big screen that synthesized the material. And now in the painting series, I work from 1/30th of a second to distill a moment back into paint. I’m curious about the ‘in-between space’ – transitions. What appears as solid is one thing, and what is going on underneath the surface – another. I like to look through many prisms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the illusory.”
To see Sharpe’s work, check out www.jillsharpe.ca.