I decided to look at the art of Georgia O’Keeffe as I admire her simplification of shapes and forms in her landscapes and cityscapes. One of the things which struck me when looking through her images was how much to me they seemed to be design-led. This was from some of her very first images, such as the charcoal drawing Early No. 2, 1915 through to her flower paintings (e.g. Two Calla Lilies on Pink, 1928), her cityscapes (e.g. Radiator Building – Night, New York, 1927), her landscapes (e.g. Red Hills and Bones, 1941) and her later works (such as Above the Clouds I, 1962-63). I think this may come from her early training and her first job as a commercial artist working as a freelance illustrator. I have also read that it comes from the influence of photography in the early 20th century and in particular her marriage to Edward Stieglitz who was a famous photographer.
What I like about her work is the clean lines she creates catching the main shapes devoid of other clutter, the way she uses positive and negative shapes to create form, her use of colour and the decorative patterns she creates from the shapes she observes. She also captured the sense of place and time whether it be the city or a New Mexico landscape. Her work shows her interpretation of what she observes rather than the visual appearance, something I am trying to achieve in my own art.
Book Read: Georgia O’Keeffe, Randall Green, Phaidon Press, 2014.
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