O’Keeffe

Never a big fan of, nor an expert on, Georgia O’Keeffe, I walked into the sparse museum devoted to the artist and wondered (again) why has she been so treasured? Based on some literature and info plates hang throughout the exhibits, I read that she had been very progressive, if not innovative, in her art. (I would love to see this being proven to me, visually. Say, a collection of other, world-wide located, contemporary with the artist’s work, side by side with O’Keeffe’s).

The artist never signed her work, so it seems. Maybe because the compositions were often so relatively speaking uninhibited and she thought that the signatures would make her paintings “dirty”? Maybe she was just a person for whom the painting was more important than who did it?

Her distinctive paintings of flowers surely set her apart as far as the unique style is concerned. But was this something innovative in art? Her cityscapes, almost bordering on primitivism, were not quite abstract and not quite representative.

O’Keeffe’s compositions are straight forward and draw mainly the vertical and the center-oriented. The yellow Katsinam is realistically reproduced by the artist, as if she was so struck by the Hopi-made wooden creation of the spirit that she decided to not insert there any artistic statement at all… Paintings of flowers, fresh and withered, have a distinct, spine like, compositional centers and buildings a phallic statues.

And there are some curiosities… Like this sweet and curiously shy painting… Probably clouds, floating away like flower petals (after being blown at) above adobe building dissected with a diagonal shadow.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s In the Patio VII, 1950. Oil on canvas, 26×20 in. Recently, this painting underwent a restoration as its colors were fainting due to the New Mexico climate.

All in all, O’Keeffe’s painting still have to grow on me… I will refer here to David Hockney’s adage that greatness of particular piece of art, or artwork, depends on who is looking…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.