Saturday, December 1, 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe (post 3)

The 20th century is one filled with war, civil unrest and perhaps unlike any other century, its one that stands out, because still most of us have spent most of our lives in it. We have seen for ourselves history develop, we've heard stories passed down from parents, seen family pictures and have our own idea of the world outside of what some textbook might claim.
This of course has seeped into art as well, and while personally i believe art should should stimulate the individual in thought, many artists have adopted political and social messages to blend with their works.
So what art and what artist can impact somebody that decided to turn away from all the social rights and wrongs, that is tired of hearing rhetoric and propaganda?
The first answer would be to find such an artist and then to find a female artist, no? After all, gender is one of those topics that is a source of dissension.
 But after thinking about such an artist the only one of the 20th century two artists came to mind, that fit "would i hang their work in my house" question. One is Salvador Dali the other is Georgia O'Keeffe.
The two are rather different, so comparing is difficult, and rather a moot point. Its like comparing Beethoven to Judas Priest. I love both but cant say which is better.
The epiphany i had regarding O'Keeffe was watching an interview, since we have video interviews of her. The interview was taken in the 80s, and she was disusing her use of animal bones and skulls for her paintings.
I decided to challenge the nature of my own preconceptions, and closed my eyes and imagined her to be a "George". How would i think of her if she would have been a male artist?

Oddly enough i came to the same answer, even if simplistic. "a weird artist collecting bones and living alone" is what i thought. Probably not somebody i would be sitting down with and talking about what i find intriguing in life. Male or female it didnt matter. However im more pragmatic, i dont claim to be an artist, which is why i dont get along with many.

But that doesnt mean i dont LIKE art. It doesnt mean i cannot critique it, to my own personal judgement. So yes, the skulls i found to be less impressive to me, although not lacking any interest, but it wasnt until i looked though some of her other works.
Many of the images you see now are from the Georgia O'Keefe museum's website. And ive chosen the ones that speak to me.
After all, thats what i think art should do, it should speak to me and each time i look at a piece its a different dialogue. I can see one aspect, one detail that changes the whole feel, not of the painting, but of myself as i look at the painting.

So you may wonder where does the fact that she is a woman come in play? It doesnt, and thats the very point. Just like Georgia herself said, that she would want to be known as a great astist rather that the best female artist. That is how i see her, and not because of honoring her wishes. Its because there is something to her work that fits my criteria. Each time i see the work, its different, a new idea surfaces and floats and catches my eyes, inspiring new thoughts and wonders.

As a future mathematician, i take very seriously the ability art has, i even envy it. Not for the beauty, since there is beauty in mathematics as well, but in the emotional response it generates. Perhaps it is self centered to think what a painting means, and change that meaning with each viewing, but that is art, that is what i WANT art to be, to stimulate, entertain, and afford me the luxury of free thought.

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