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Georgia O'keefe

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Georgia O'keefe

Post  Art_Susan on Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:30 pm

Georgia O'Keeffe The meaning of a word - to me - is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words. I write this because such odd things have been done about me with words. I have often been told what to paint. I am often amazed at the spoken and written word telling me what I have painted. I make this effort because no one else can know how my paintings happen. Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest. Georgia O'Keeffe Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the most influential artists there is today. Her works are valued highly and are quite beautiful and unique. As a prominent American artist, Georgia O'Keeffe is famous for her images of gigantic flowers, city-scapes and distinctive desert scenes. All of these different phases represent times in her life. Throughout the seventy years of her creative career, Georgia O'Keeffe continually made some of the most original contributions to the art of our time. As Georgia O'Keeffe's awareness of her sexuality heightened, she started to paint marvelous original abstractions in exuberant rainbows or colors. These colors seemed to celebrate her happiness. One of her paintings Music--Pink and Blue I, she encircles a blue vaginal void with pulsating waves of rippling pink and white (Lisle 102). From just looking at this picture you would not think that it was a vaginal void. There is always so much that you can get from a picture. Everyone that looks at it will definitely have a different interpretation of what they see in it. The white sizing under the smooth surface makes the colors luminate in Music--Pink and Blue I. The two oval shapes bring out the sea, sky, and other images. The central form is a little more complex. The left archway uses blues and pinks alternately. On the inner edge of the arch, pink hues mix in to rose with gray edges. The warm colors and lines are controlled yet fluid. As the title tells, an inner and outer harmony is reached. Georgia O'Keeffe's Black Iris is noted for its sensual suggestiveness, but she insisted that she was representing the flower itself. She even flatly denied that the flower was a metaphor for female genitalia. O'Keeffe's flowers were painted frontally and revealingly had the effect of making the human beings who stood in front of them become smaller. The observer feels like Alice after she had imbibed the 'Drink Me' phial wrote a reviewer in amusement. The size of the bloom relative to a human really reflected the relative importance of nature and mankind in the artist's eyes. Georgia O'Keeffe painted everything from lilies, jonquils, daisies, irises, sweet peas, morning glories, poppies, forget-me-nots, marigolds, poinsettias, orchids, sunflowers, petunias, marigolds, and many more were reborn in her paintings. O'Keeffe wasn't happy because people looked at her paintings and tried to see them in the way of a female. She said, Well--I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower--and I don't. She did not like the idea that people thought she painted the way she did because she was a female. She painted that way because that was how she saw things. The flowers that she created epitomize her growth, success, magnetism, and energy at that certain stage in her career. Her choice to paint these flowers was influenced by her early training, natural attraction to flowers, and the idea of something fresh and fragile. Close observations of O'Keeffe's flowers show that she never really pursued the realistic approach. She didn't paint every petal and detail. Instead she gave her flowers a life of their own, and expression that changed significantly between 1918 and 1938. Her red canna painting gradually enlarged the central flower image and brought it closer to the edges of the canvas. Between 1926 and 1929 she painted a group of views of New York City. New York Night transforms skyscrapers into patterned, glittering structures that deny their volume. Most of these buildings were further simplified in her paintings and O'Keeffe was even able to find tranquility in them that contrasted with the urban environment. The city was a major theme in her work only between these years. During this time she produced some twenty-five paintings and drawings of urban scenery. This paintings are divided into three registers: the darkened water towers and irregular rooflines of the east side of Manhattan, the calm waters of the East River, and the jagged piers and smoggy covered factory smokestacks of Long Island City. It was a trip to New Mexico in 1929 that led O'Keeffe to the semiabstract style for which she became famous. The region's dramatic mesas, ancient Spanish architecture, vegetation, and desiccated terrain became her themes. She thought of bones as whitened relics and symbols of the desert, nothing more. Georgia O'Keeffe changed her style of painting to bones. In her picture From the Faraway Nearby, she paints a pair of elk's antlers suspended in a pinkish-blue dawn over some snow-capped mountains. Like the other pictures of skulls in the sky, this one also seems to have been painted from an elevated point, as if the artist herself was levitating on a shimmering desert heat wave. This picture reminds some people of the joyful promise of everlasting life in the message of the Christian Resurrection (Lisle 234). In the paintings of bones compared to her earlier works, her colors are less strident, forms are less, and overall the mood is more serene. More light than before is taken into the canvas and there is now a larger sense of spaciousness. These pictures lacked a middle distance: Objects appeared either very near or very far in the desert air. This is a total contrast from her views of enlarged flowers. The pioneers of American abstraction responded to modern European movements in individual ways. Georgia O'Keeffe approached her subjects, whether buildings or flowers, landscapes or bones, by intuitively magnifying their shapes and simplifying their details to underscore their essential beauty. Her painting of Black Cross, is a large, dark cross which seems to stand watch over the rolling hills at sunset, proclaiming man's presence in this stark landscape. In Grey Hill Forms, Georgia O'Keeffe begins with the traditionally painterly ideals. Strong diagonal lines of recession draw the eye through the scene to create a smoothly three dimensional space. The yellow and green colors blend into deeper indigos and grays. The dramatic contrasts in light and tone aid in the formation of space without causing too much motion in the scene. The strong lines throughout give the images more conceptual meaning. The mountains are tangible and solid, clearly separated from both the ground and the deep blue sky. The light dramatizes both the depth and clarity in the painting. Georgia O'Keeffe is more concerned with the essential identity of things rather than the mere visual appearance. Suspicious of intellectual approaches to art, she was an introspective and independent visionary who thrived on isolation. O'Keeffe's original American works encompass a wide vision from taut city towers to desertscapes in such vivid hues and startled the senses. Throughout history she has made contributions to the history of American art and as Americans we will be forever thankful.

Bibliography

Castro, Jan Garden. The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: Crown Publishers, 1985. Laurie Lisle. Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: Seaview Books, 1980. O'Keeffe, Georgia. Georgia O'Keeffe. New York: The Viking Press, 1976.

Art_Susan

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