Holding an MA in history, Kathryn Bridge has been an archivist (since 1978) and manager of access services (since 1997) at the BC Archives in Victoria.

She is the author of By Snowshoe, Buckboard & Steamer: Women of the Frontier, a look at the lives of four pioneer women in B.C. during the 19th century. The book earned the Lieutenant-Governor's Award from the B.C. Historical Federation in 1999.

Bridge's profile of Phyllis Munday, who reached the top of Mount Robson and made nearly 100 other ascents [also see Don Munday entry], was shortlisted for the VanCity Book Prize. Don and Phyllis Munday were a remarkable couple who made joint climbs from the 1920s through the 1940s, scaling more than 150 peaks, more than 40 of which were first ascents. As Active members of the Alpine Club of Canada, they climbed throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Mount Robson, which Phyllis Munday revisited in August of 1974, fifty years after her ascent. Bridge has told their combined story in A Passion for Mountains: The Lives of Don and Phyllis Munday (Rocky Mountain Books, 2006), illustrated by many climbing and family photos. Mount Munday was named in their honour by the Geographic Names Board in 1927.

Emily Carr in England (RBCM 2014) is an important contribution to writing about B.C.'s best-known painter, examining Carr's five years in England from 1899 (at age 27) to 1904. With historical photos and Carr's own sketches from the period, it includes some of Carr's comical stories about her life. One makes fun of the guest house where she lived; another describes an unsuccessful attempt to see Queen Victoria's funeral procession, and a third describes a painting excursion into the woods from St. Ives, Cornwall. While at the Westminster School of Art she was keen to participate in a segregated class for female artists drawing from the nude. "I had never been taught to think of our naked bodies as something beautiful," she wrote, "only as something indecent, something to be hidden... [The model's] beauty delighted the artist in us. The illuminated glow of her flesh made sacred the busy hush as we worked." Copies of the book were sent to Dulwich Picture Gallery in London to complement a major, new exhibit on Carr's art.


Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing: French Modernism and the West Coast (Figure 1 $40)

"European painters have sought to express Europe. Canadian painters must strive to express Canada. Misty landscapes and gentle cows do not express Western Canada, even the cows know that." -- Emily Carr

New research into the extent that Emily Carr's art evolved when she was abroad is the subject of a new exhibition at Whistler's Audain Art Museum. Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing: French Modernism and the West Coast (Figure 1 $40) has been published in conjunction with the exhibit (on until January 19, 2020).

Carr's early training in San Francisco and London had been conservative. It wasn't until she studied art in France between 1910 - 1911 that her whole approach to painting changed and she began to experiment with broad, loose brushstrokes and vivid, colours deemed "unnatural" for the time.

After her stint in France, Carr shipped back over a hundred of her oil paintings and watercolours to Canada. "It showed that she believed in these paintings, was proud of her accomplishments," writes Dr. Kathryn Bridge, co-curator of the Audain exhibit, "and thought she would profit from their sales."

But after Carr returned to B.C., her studio show of 70 French works generated few sales in the spring of 1912. A visitor commented on the "riot of colour...I confess I was a little startled. The blues seemed so very blue, the yellows so unmitigated, the reds so aggressive, the greens so verdant."

The French were more sympathetic. In fact, two of her works had been accepted at the 1911 Salon D'Automne. This was a vital venue for experimental artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gaugin.

One of Carr's works chosen by the salon, Le Paysage (Britanny Landscape), has now been purchased by Michael Audain, founder of the Audain Art Museum.

"For the work of an unrecognized artist from Victoria to have been featured at such a prestigious international exhibition during the early 1900s was unprecedented," says Audain of Carr's inclusion in Salon D'Automne.

In a 1930 speech she gave in Victoria on Modern art, Carr said, "unless we bring to our picture something additional -- something creative -- something of ourselves -- our picture does not live… 'Creative Art' is 'fresh seeing.'" 978-1-77327-091-3

[BCBW 2019]


Reviews of the author's work by BC Studies:
Emily Carr in England


Phyllis Munday: Mountaineer (XYZ Publishing, 2002)
A Passion for Mountains: The Lives of Don and Phyllis Munday (Rocky Mountain Books, 2006).
Emily Carr in England (Royal BC Museum 2014) $27.95 978-0-7726-6770-0
Snowshoe, Buckboard & Steamer: Women of the Frontier (Sono Nis Press, 1998). Reprinted as Snowshoe, Buckboard & Steamer: Women of the British Columbia Frontier (RBCM 2019) $19.95 978-0-7726-7310-7
Henry & Self: The Private Life of Sarah Crease 1826-1922 (Sono Nis Press). Reprinted as Henry & Self: An English Gentlewoman at the Edge of Empire (RBCM 2019) $22.95 978-0-7726-7261-2
Emily Carr. Fresh Seeing: French Modernism and the West Coast (Figure 1 2019) in collaboration with the Audain Art Museum $40.00 / 9781773270913. Co-writers include: Kiriko Watanabe, Robin Laurence, and Michael Polay

[BCBW 2020] "Women" "Biography"