Visual art Georgia O’Keeffe’s artworks are universally readily recognizable as great American art and have thus had mass success. Chances are you own or have owned a poster — the simple proof of how her work has been a long-standing fixture in our pop culture consciousness. We love O’Keeffe’s lilac and blue colors, we love the tranquil mood they imbue and we love the vagina imagery whether we know it or not. Georgia O’Keeffe’s ‘Cottonwoods III.’ 1943. Courtesy: The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio. O’Keeffe’s artwork will be on exhibit at the Eiteljorg through April 3. But, how do we really define this emotional appeal? And how will you attempt to express your awe when you visit 39 paintings in person you’ve probably never seen before at the exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of the Sublime, opening Jan. 15 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art?
The sensual smoothness of her most notable works of flowers, bleached bones and Southwestern landscapes are distinguishably feminine and downright transcendental. Those sublime qualities bordering between realism and abstraction are hard to put your finger on. O’Keeffe expresses the emotion of being in the environments she interprets with some assimilation of clarity to define her subject, but just enough to engage a viewer’s senses and imaginations. As was the trend in American art to replace Romantic animal- and ruin-filled landscapes, she explored the “Infinite” through light-filled atmospheric scapes and still-lifes, doing so with a remarkably unique voice that gave her great success in her own day. She is deserving of her American art history super star status.
Twenty-five photographs by her famous photographer husband, Alfred Steiglitz, will accompany the works as well, which include portraits of O’Keeffe and images from his “Equivalents” skyscapes.
The Eiteljorg will additionally present a five-painting exhibition titled The Infinite O’Keeffe that represent O’Keeffe’s ideas of infinity. Programs and events scheduled for the exhibit include “O’Keeffe in New Mexico,” a slide lecture Jan. 15, 2-3 p.m.; a teacher’s workshop March 5, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; “The Infinite O’Keeffe” luncheon and slide lecture on March 12, 12-3 p.m.; and more. Call 636-WEST for details or visit www.eiteljorg.org for more information. Exhibition runs through April 3.