Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings of flowers are among her most famous.
Many critics and scholars have talked about themes in O'Keeffe's work
such as the cycles of birth, life, death and decay. Others saw the
flowers as symbols of sexuality. Still others observed that she was
incorporating photographic techniques such as cropping
and close-ups, even before the technology of color film or large photographic
blow-ups had been invented. Georgia O'Keeffe herself did not confirm
the critics' interpretations of her flower paintings. She was painting
the plants as she saw them--merely observing nature in her own way.
She said, "A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations
with a flower... still--in a way--nobody really sees a flower--really--it
is so small....So I said to myself--I'll paint what I see...but I'll
paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at
it...even busy New Yorkers [will] take time to see what I see of flowers....When
you [refering to critics and others who wrote about these paintings]
took time to really notice my flower you hung all your associations
with flowers on my flower as if I think and see what you think and
see of the flower--and I don't."
O'Keeffe was interested in European-based modern art, but she
felt she could only go so far painting like her teachers and other
artists. Around 1915, she read an important book by the Russian
modern painter Wassily Kandinsky, titled Concerning the Spiritual
in Art, which strengthened her desire to make something that
was profoundly personal. O'Keeffe's style of painting was first
and foremost her own personal vision.
that looks as if it contains little or no recognizable or realistic
forms from the physical world. Focus on formal elements such as
colors, lines, or shapes. Artists often "abstract" objects by changing,
simplifying, or exaggerating what they see.
photography, cropping refers to the practice of establishing the
edge of an image. Often a close cropped photograph cuts parts of
the central image off for expressive or compositional purposes.
art history, this term refers to the philosophies of art made in
Europe and the United States during a period roughly from the 1860s
through the 1970s when certain artists began to take radical steps
away from traditional art in order to be deliberately different,
critical, and often dissenting from the dominant official taste.
Modern art or modernism is characterized by changing attitudes about
art, an interest in contemporary events as subjects, personal artistic
expression, and freedom from realism. Modernism can be seen as artists'
attempts to come to terms with urban, industrial, and secular society
that emerged during the 19th century in Western society.
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