Georgia O’Keeffe is at the top of my list of favorite artists. I like what I view as her independent spirit and appreciate her work for being, in my opinion, ahead of its time. She saw her environment with different eyes and painted it in her unique style.
During the mid 20th century, O’Keeffe became interested in photography. Her photos were mostly of her Abiquiu home and the surrounding New Mexico landscape. The result is showcased for the first time in an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. It opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about her work.
Her goal was not to become a great photographer but rather to capture what she saw in a variety of ways. She shot the same thing over and over walking around in order to see it in different light or from a new angle. In that way, the photos have some of the same passions as her paintings.
It was not unusual for her to shoot objects such as the jimsonweed that were subject for paintings she had done years before.
The Chama River appears to have been a favorite spot to explore with her camera.
It was a place that had drawn her years before as this painting was done ahead of her seeing the river through her lens.
What touched me about this exhibit is that it revealed O’Keeffe’s ability to see artistic value in numerous objects whether a landscape, a flower, a skull or a ladder leaning against a wall.
How she then interpreted those same things in a painting is what draws me again and again to her work.
O’Keeffe not only used her photos as inspiration but she often sent them to friends with handwritten notes on the back. How I wish one of them had been sent to me!
Seeing this exhibit only confirmed to me those qualities that I find unique in both her person and her art. Thanks to Todd Webb’s photos of her, I got an even better look.