Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe are three of the world’s most iconic artists. They are also the subject of Jill Sharpe’s award-winning film BONE WIND FIRE and the inspiration behind Sharpe’s upcoming exhibition of paintings, opening on January 17 at Victoria’s Madrona Gallery.
“This show is the result of my seven-year journey researching the lives and art of these three great painters,” says Sharpe. “I began painting at the age of 13 and remember fondly my family’s annual pilgrimage to the McMichael Gallery outside Toronto where I first experienced Emily Carr’s work. I have spent most of my life as a documentary filmmaker with a passion for painting. However when I came across Sharyn Udal’s book Carr, O’Keeffe & Kahlo – Places of Their Own, I felt I had found the ideal material to finally combine my passions and experiment with film as a large canvass.”
In conceiving the film, Sharpe says she sifted through 6,000 journal pages and thousands of paintings, to create the film entirely from the women’s own words.
“When we were first introduced to Jill Sharpe’s work, we were really impressed by her commitment to searching out the motivation of each of these artists individually,” says Madrona Gallery owner Michael Warren. “It was really inspiring to find that kind of commitment to an in depth level of research.”
Rather than being derivative of the works of Kahlo, O’Keefe and Carr, Sharpe’s paintings stand on their own merit, says Warren. His favourite is “Liquified By Light” (pictured above) which depicts Kahlo sitting in a bathtub, holding a cigarette. “It’s just so beautiful … and it really captures a moment,” he adds.
Sharpe’s work as a filmmaker and artist has been presented in major galleries around the globe including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Education Annex, Dulwich Picture Gallery, McMichael Collection of Canadian Art, Museum of Fine Art (Boston), Musee des Beaux Arts (Montreal), Lincon Center (New York) among others.
BONE WIND FIRE runs from January 17 to 31 at Madrona Gallery in Victoria. The artist will be in attendance on January 17 from 1 to 4 p.m.