Carle Hessay
Canadian artist

Carle Hessay 1976 Forest Swamp on the West Coast

Carle Hessay 1976 Forest Swamp on the West Coast

Forest Swamp on the West Coast

Large sweeps and dabs of paint thickly applied give a woodsy feel to this landscape. The exposed roots of tall leafless trees, along with smaller stumps and thin trunks, suggest a swampy area that would be difficult to walk through without sinking into all that lushness.

Punctuating the middle of the foreground, a vertical trunk crossed with a horizontal bar at the bottom gives the impression of a sword with its hilt. Near the top, it slashes across another trunk, as if engaged in some heroic struggle.

Just beyond and to the right of the low hilly clumps is a small dark grove of evergreens bordering a rushing river. Its startling blue colours with shimmering white waves contrast with the earth colours of the forest. Perhaps during the heavy rains blanketing much of the West Coast, this river overflows, adding to the regeneration of the dense undergrowth.

On the far side of the river, orange flashes of colour in the central area draw the eye to the indistinct but powerful vegetal growth seemingly engaged with the dark and mineral green forces of the sky.

Just as in Emily Carr's paintings, the potent forces infusing nature are evoked. This painting also reflects the interiority of the artist.

(Dimensions: 118 x 58.4 cm.; 23 3/4 x 42 1/2 inches; thickly applied gesso and paint on cloth stretched on plywood; signed and dated)