Georgia O’Keeffe at Tate Modern

On Friday I went up to London to meet up with some lovely women from the UK Indie Kindred group to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Tate Modern. A number of people on Facebook etc have asked me what my reaction to it was so I though I would write a quick post about it. All the pictures below are from the leaflet you get when you enter the exhibition so I apologise for the quality of my picture of these pictures, but I think they are good enough to give you the general idea. Happily most of my favourites were included in the leaflet.

What follows is a personal reflection of the exhibition and is not intended to be a review.

The exhibition, which is in its last weeks, was very busy, making quiet reflection difficult. I really wished I had made time to come more than once there was so much to see and take in. It was arranged chronologically and included photos of Georgia by Stieglitz and others and various books and other documents. I found I was drawn to pictures from every period of her life, but those that really drew me in were either very colourful. very dramatic, or both. Something I find reflected in my own art.

This iconic picture was chosen as the front cover of the leaflet. Standing in front of it, it seemed to reach out and pull you in. I had an urge to dive right into its centre. Interestingly when looking at the reproductions in the museum shop this pull absolutely wasn’t there and they seemed to be very pale imitations of the reality.

Red and Orange Streak was one of Georgia’s early works painted in 1919. I love the colours and lines in this and the way the orange streak seems to pull you up though the painting.

New York Cityscapes. When Georgia first mooted the idea of painted New York

I was told it was an impossible idea – even the men haven’t done too well with it

This is my favourite of the cityscapes on display I love the colour and shapes and the way in which the moon is echoed by the street lamp and then the traffic light

This is my favourite picture in the whole exhibition athough I am not entirely sure why. Something about the deep colours – some of the blues she uses are just amazing, and the shapes and that beautiful starlit sky which reminded me of the sky as seen through my bedroom window  in the middle of the previous night. It was painted on her first visit to New Mexico in 1929

Although this picture of the ‘Black Place’ is monochrome it is full of movement and drama and this is what draws me in. One moment it makes me think of clouds, in another it conjures up an erupting volcano. Georgia returned to the ‘Black Place’ which is about 150 miles west of Ghost Ranch in New Mexico again and again to paint.

The final picture I want to share is one of her final paintings from 1963 and is a skyscape. At first glance it appeared to resemble lilypads on a pond but it was in fact clouds. I can imagine sitting on one of these in a lotus position (well it is a dream) meditating and being filled with serenity.

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

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