Archive for September 7th, 2021

Georgia O'Keeffe-Cows Skull  Red  White and  Blue 1931

Georgia O’Keeffe-Cow’s Skull Red, White and Blue -1931

I have done nothing all summer but wait for myself to be myself again —

–Georgia O’Keeffe

I came across this line above from Georgia O’Keeffe that she wrote in a letter to fellow painter Russell Vernon Hunter. Her words certainly resonated with me as I seem to find myself in that same peculiar position every summer, waiting for summer to pass and the ease that accompanies autumn (at least for me) to arrive. It also reminded me of some of the reasons that I was so attracted to O’Keeffe and her work, especially in my earlier years.

Her work always struck me in both the gut and the head. It was easily taken in but was not easily dismissed. It left you with lingering thoughts and images in your mind. It was like seeing a simple object that for some reason sparks a whole series of thoughts, often unrelated tor far from the object itself. Like seeing a simple flower and suddenly imagining the whole cycle of life.

From birth to death and back to life again, all in the petals of a flower.

I thought I’d replay a post from several years back that shows a clip from a 1977 film about O”Keeffe that I very much like. The award winning film became part of the American Masters series on PBS but is no longer in circulation, according to some sites. But the clip speaks volumes itself and I have added a video with the filmmaker, the late Perry Miller Adato, who speaks about the film and her interactions with O’Keeffe during its making.

Georgia O'KeeffeI don’t know if I have talked much about Georgia ‘OKeeffe (1887-1985) here on the blog. Her work was a big influence on me when I was starting, especially with her use of  bold, clear color and in the way she pared away detail in her compositions, leaving only the essential. Her lines and forms were always organic and natural, something in them almost creating a harmony or vibration that easily meshed with the viewer on a gut level.

I was looking at films of artists at work earlier and came across a short segment from a 1977 documentary by filmmaker Perry Miller Adato that was aired on PBS at the time to mark O’Keeffe 90th birthday. I was immediately captivated by the film of her as younger woman early in her time in New Mexico set against her at 90, listening to talk about paintings that were based on the bones she found in the high desert, telling a bit about the iconic painting shown here.

Her words were direct and plain-spoken in a mid-western voice that reflected her mid-western upbringing. There’s an interesting juxtaposition of her speaking in very simple terms about her work set against a curator speaking in a bit of artspeak. I’m not saying his point wasn’t valid. It was just interesting to see how she spoke easily on the subject, spoken with the ease of just being who she was.

It was just a neat clip that reminded me of why I liked her work so much in those early years. As I said, this is just a clip and I am sorry that I don’t know where you can see the entire film. But enjoy this and perhaps you’ll stumble across the whole film some other day.

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