17 December 2011

Georgia O'Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction

Georgia O'Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction48. Georgia O'Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction by Richard D. Marshall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic collection of paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. Really a beautiful book.

Of the essays, I liked the first best. So if you're interested in knowing more, I'd suggest reading that one, looking at the pictures in the other two, and then reading the chronology at the end. Also be sure to read the quotes by some of her paintings, well worth it and have pointed me to another book I want to read.

It was in that first essay by Richard D. Marshall that shares the name of the book that the obvious occurred to me: just how much I've been influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe's work. When I was young, I suppose I sort of latched onto her as the only famous female artist I knew, and, bonus, whose work I loved.

I sought out her paintings in museums all over the country. My family went to a great retrospective of her work in DC around 1986 or 87. Seeing her work in books can be misleading. Sometimes the scale really matters. The last image in that exhibit was one of her immense "Sky Above Clouds" paintings. My parents were waiting for me to get through the exhibit and my mom commented that everyone's face lit up when they entered the room with that last huge painting.

Side note: Even at 13, I was making my parents wait for me to finish looking at art.

In 1992 during October break from college, I went on vacation with my parents to New Mexico. It was my first time in the Southwest, and I kept thinking, "the hills really are the colors she painted them." In addition to the local museums with her work, we drove out to Abiquiu to take a peak at her house. (Pretty sure at the time it was privately owned.)

I even painted an homage titled "Left side of a triptych with skull."

But looking at my other paintings and my photographs now, I see more of her impact and perhaps things we have in common. Like the way I tend to photograph flowers or make abstractions out of architecture. My interest in the details and forms of things may have developed in part from looking at hers. Or my interest in those things may have been why I was drawn to her work in the first place. Either way: neat.

A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #45

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