Asphalt and ideas vs. Mother Nature.

November 6th, 2011

o'keeffe blogI’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life
– and I’ve never let it keep me
from doing a single thing I wanted to do.

– Georgia O’Keeffe

The days you work are the best days.
– Georgia O’Keeffe
Last night we made a visit to see the work of an old friend, Ms. Georgia O’Keeffe at the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.
To enter into her world of intimate vision and consummate craft is a pleasure. Her painterly abilities are, of course, admirable. But it is her uncompromising sense of clarity and purpose that sets her far above the fold. She sets an amazing standard of self determination, choosing her own path in a time when women rarely did such a thing.
O’Keeffe painted what she wanted to paint. Flowers; skyscrapers; light on the Hudson; alligator pears; (avocados) and skulls. She saw magic too, suspending bones and blossoms in mid-air. Her abstract works are a celebration of form and color.

A friend recently said to me “when did art stop being about beauty?”
On this mad scramble of a planet populated by seven billion people there is little common denominator of beauty.
I seek refuge in the natural world, but there are many who prefer asphalt and ideas to the simplicity and elegance of nature.
O’Keeffe spanned all of these.
I highly recommend the O’Keeffe Museum on Johnson Street in Santa Fe, just a short stroll from the plaza. On the first Friday of each month admission is free.
Currently, in addition to the on-going exhibit of O’Keeffe’s work, the featured exhibit is a series of portraits painted in Ireland by Robert Henri. While his color and brushwork are marvelous I found the plethora of portraits to be overwhelming. The exhibit would be more compelling with  fewer portraits and an addition of more of his wonderful Irish landscapes.

7 Responses to “Asphalt and ideas vs. Mother Nature.”

  1. lizamyers says:

    I should add that I didn’t actually know Ms. O’Keeffe though several friends of mine did. her work has been a place of comfort in my life for so many years it feels like an old, familiar friendship.

  2. It’s true that art isn’t about what is beautiful any more. I suppose it shouldn’t have to be, but part of me is sad that some people are no longer trying to reach that kind of visual ideal that we’d like to see in the world. Keeffe did a good job of balancing the two, however. This reminds me of those artist projects i did in your classes – Durer, Remedios Varo…good times! Miss ya =]

    • lizamyers says:

      Thanks Katharine! Hope all is well with you and that you are finding time for art in your life!

  3. WildC says:

    O’Keeffe feels like an old friend to me too 🙂 I’ve got Santa Fe firmly on my wish list for when I eventually get to the States but I hope I’ll get to hook up with you too Liza 😉

    Glad to hear you’ve been touting another of my favourite women artists, Remedios Varo – so few people seem to have heard of her 🙂 I’m planning a ‘Scratch with the Masters’ article on her in the new year and I have already done one on O’Keeffe. (Not sure if I can post a link here so just click Scratch with the Masters icon or the Masters tag on my sidebar and she’s first.)

    I’m with your friend on the beauty aspect of art. We shouldn’t forget that, to a certain extent, we create the world in our own image 🙂

    • lizamyers says:

      So great to hear from you! Let me know when you’re coming. It would be great to meet up. Love what you said about beauty too. Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the day to day. Art is about taking us out of that rut.