Georgia O’Keeffe at Tate Modern
Tate Modern’s new Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition (opening 6th July) is the largest and most extensive collection of her art outside the US, with 221 objects, including selections by Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams, and 115 major pieces by O’Keeffe. 21 worldwide locations (especially the US) donated the artwork for this remarkable exhibit, which covers every aspect of O’Keeffe’s work throughout her long career.
Providing a highly informative overview of this show, the curator’s tour, led by Hannah Johnston, profiled O’Keeffe’s styles and methods over her lifetime. The exhibition covers the artist’s career in 13 rooms, starting from her earliest period beginning in 1915 and her use of synesthesia and chromesthesia. Influenced by Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art and inspired by music, O’Keeffe was a brilliant colourist with a particular interest in abstraction and naturalism. The artist is known for her expression of femininity and womanhood, interpretable as a synthesis with “Mother Nature”.
O’Keeffe’s work often focuses on place, with New York City and New Mexico being two essential inspirations throughout her career. When she lived at the Shelton Hotel in New York City with artist Alfred Stieglitz, their work became symbiotic. Her New York paintings in rooms three and four, depicted in various styles, truly capture the essence of the city.
In rooms five and six, O’Keeffe’s classic naturalist style is highlighted, with colourful paintings like Autumn Trees – The Maple and the voluptuous Oriental Poppies. Room seven, titled New Mexico: Taos and Alcalde, contains pieces created after her move to the western state, such as the oil painting, Taos Pueblo, with vivid blue sky and clay-coloured pueblo buildings. Room nine’s Charma River, a delicate oil in brilliant sweeping blues and greens, depicts her Ghost Ranch. Significant in room 11 are compositions with her pelvis bones used as lenses.
Room 12, dedicated to The Southwest, contains more manifestations of O’Keeffe’s fascination with the American West and New Mexico, including her Kachina series, charcoals and oils of Native American spirit beings. Room 13 includes her aerial views of rivers, a return to abstraction and her most prolific period.
As the most important Georgia O’Keeffe collection outside the US, this Tate Modern exhibit is beautifully organised, comprehensive and informative – a must-see.
Georgia O’Keeffe is at Tate Modern from 6th July until 30th October 2016, for further information visit here.