Review: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Photography at the MFAH

Review: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Photography at the MFAH

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Visible artwork is again in a large way at the Museum of Great Arts, Houston, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s get the job done as a photographer is just one of their latest unique displays. Astonishing and illuminating, this assortment of her function shows a further dimension of O’Keeffe’s creative vision, a single that is independent from her famed photographer spouse, Alfred Stieglitz

O’Keeffe was one of the initial women to attain significant acclaim from the art planet in New York, and her easy, yet profound, images of the pure world allowed viewers to see the abstract in what was traditionally concrete. Most well known for her paintings, this is the very first show to concentrate mainly on her pictures. 

The format of the exhibit is an fascinating juxtaposition of her photographs, a couple decide on paintings, and pictures taken of her by her friend and fellow photographer Todd Webb (1905-2000). It’s nearly a collage of her—both equally powering and in front of a digital camera—with her paintings performing as a reminder that she used pics both of those as inspirations, as very well as a way to seize pure photos of what she experienced now painted. Her images was woven into her other artistic endeavors, and the exhibition mirrors the way images complemented her paintings. 

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O’Keeffe’s photographs had been sometimes research that have been taken long just after a painting was finished. Most occasions the visuals are performs only for by themselves: Polaroid snapshots of friends, the image of a doorway, ladder, or a street, a glimpse of nature that captured her beloved Southwest, or even her New York abode, embellished by legendary totems of the western landscape. 

Works like Antelope, (1943-46) exemplify O’Keeffe’s affinity for character. Several of the exhibition’s showcased visuals had been sights in the vicinity of her home in New Mexico, from snow to solar and shrubs. The pictures are time capsules of not only the landscape she inhabited, but of her adventures: Glen Canyon in Utah and Arizona (sacred land to the Zuni, who regarded it the put in which people emerged), the Black Sands of Maui, and White House Forget and Spider Rock in the 1950s. 

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She has a sequence related to Claude Monet’s water lilies and haystacks, but with pictures: Major Sage, (1957) has its various versions, as do her Chow Chow pet dogs. And of study course, bouquets, as with the pictures in the Jimsonweed sequence of 1964-68. It is all good, but even better when there is a portray to remind us of how reality was translated into artwork, as in White Flower, (1929). From time to time the photos occur initially, typically they come afterwards — even a long time afterwards. 

The photos of her (typically) Southwestern surroundings are the two juxtaposed and contextualized by her paintings and drawings. The drawings are minimalist, maybe unfinished, but undoubtedly not as strong of an practical experience as the other works. Nevertheless, they provide an define of her sensibilities in terms of type and purpose. 

As the wall labels encourage, O’Keeffe’s curiosity in “aesthetic get and psychological expression” proves correct across her oeuvre. The most captivating aspect of the exhibition is looking at a painting these kinds of as Small Purple Hills, (1934) remodel into a photograph just about 40 several years later. It feels magical as if the very same pictures had been nonetheless remarkable plenty of to preserve capturing, even above a long time.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, O’Keeffe took a wide range of photographs, lots of of which experimented with light-weight, shadow and the geometric dimensions of the domestic and pure worlds. The exhibition’s structure pays homage to O’Keeffe’s fascination with visible tropes this kind of as window frames, ladders, lengthy streets that direct your imagination more than the horizon, and doors that can lead you in or out. Her pictures, dominated by windows, doorways, and roadways, constantly lead to a reconsideration of what it usually means to seem at the globe all around us.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer is on look at at the Museum of Great Arts, Houston via January 17, 2022. For additional info on tickets and museum hours, stop by right here