A year ago I was medically evacuated out of Ethiopia to London to get my appendix taken out. It was overall a long, stressful and tiring journey that kept me out of the country for almost a month.
One of the positive things that came out of the trip was that I was able to do a lot of cultural things that I don’t get a chance to do in Ethiopia. On this particular day, my uncle had invited me to the Tate Modern in London to see a Georgia O’Keefe exhibition.
I will be very honest here and let you know that I had absolutely no idea who Georgia O’Keefe was. But I trust my Uncle’s taste in art and besides, I really enjoy the Tate Modern.
The Tate Modern has recently been extended with a fantastic new building (seen at the top of the blog or available as a print) designed by Herzog & de Meuron. When you look at this building there are endless angles, facades, and points of view that you can admire. The pyramid-like structure reaches out into the sky. It is a fantastic addition to the existing turbine hall.
Now back to the rest of the story.
Photography and Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’Keeffe was an American modernist painter who is particularly well known for her paintings of flowers. In last week’s post, the video I linked to had Art Wolfe describing how glaciers in Antartica reminded him of these images. Looking through many of her paintings, you do get a real sense of the beauty and sensuality of flowers.
I love flowers, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Georgia O’Keefe is also very well known for her landscape paintings of New Mexico. The landscape that inspired many of her paintings is surreal. However, when Georgia painted, there is a simplicity and minimalism that is very appealing to the eye. This painting of Lake George might be one of my favorite of the that I saw that in the exhibition last year.
Even better, she was a supporter of photography. This could have been because she married Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer. In addition, it could be because she was good friends with Ansel Adams.
I able to see over 100 paintings by Georgia O’Keefe. Even better, I got to see some pictures by one of the greatest landscape photographers ever. The images that Ansel Adams took were of Saint Francis Church, Ranchos de Taos, in New Mexico. These images are not the usual images you’d associate with Ansel Adams; however, they do reflect how he viewed architecture within the wider landscape.
Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe traveled frequently together in New Mexico and both created amazing art during those trips. Some of my favorite images that they created in this part of the United States can be found in the following book Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities or by searching on google for Ranchos de Taos
If you ever get a chance to see either a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition or find yourself in London near the Tate Modern, I highly recommend you do so.