Friday, 2 May 2014

Georgia O'Keeffe

The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park is featuring an exhibit of Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George.

Which is compelling.

Barns, changing color of leaves, trees around the lake, the top of knees (hers?) in a rowboat…..

And quite unusual.

Because when I think of this particular artist, I immediately think of New Mexico and flowers (large, bold, close up).

But like all of us, O'Keeffe was more than one note.

Born in Wisconsin, she attended the Art Institute in Chicago, taught in Texas, took classes in South Carolina. A friend sent her drawings to Alfred Steiglitz, a photographer and gallery owner in New York. He exhibited her work without her knowledge.

O'Keeffe ended up in a relationship and eventually married Steiglitz, a man over twenty years her senior.

Stieglitz shot nude photographs of O'Keeffe that made her famous. This led to critics eyeing her own work as erotic and sensual thus tainting the way her flowers and other close ups were viewed. In the short film (shown at the museum), they quote O'Keeffe as saying, "Sometimes a flower is just a flower."

Hmmmm, even without knowing this part of her history, there seems to be an obvious sensual quality to her work.

A 1929 vacation to Taos, New Mexico would alter the course of her life. She returned every year and took up permanent residency there after her husband died.

Fascinating woman with equally fascinating history.

de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit.

Also mentioned in the film, "she was so very tired of all the green" (from years and years of painting around Lake George) and the colors of New Mexico spoke to her as an artist.

It stuck with me because as we left the exhibit (in the middle of Golden Gate Park), we were instantly surrounded by green.

Grass, trees, bushes, even the water….which I couldn't wait to photograph.

But hey, I am not a painter….

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