We did so much this weekend! One of the highlights was a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit. Since we bought memberships there last year (very reasonable and you get to support a worthy enterprise at the same time!), we've enjoyed being able to pop in for shorter visits rather than trying to cram several exhibits at a time to get the admission's worth. The O'Keeffe exhibit can be covered in about an hour and a half fairly satisfactorily, although I hope to get back for some second looks. What I really appreciate about this show is the way it helped me understand the similarities between O'Keeffe's treatment of flowers and of landscape through this quotation of O'Keeffe written on the entry to the show: "Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things." While I've previously associated O'Keeffe with her renditions of flowers and landscapes, the show helped me articulate for myself what most strikes me about her work: the way her eye filtered out confusing details to focus on line and colour.
I was also interested to learn how much it bothered O'Keeffe that Steiglitz insisted on the Freudian or sexualized elements in her work -- quite likely as a way of inviting and maintaining critical and popular interest. While there's no denying the erotically evocative nature of so much of her work, I can imagine that this label must have felt sometimes like one more straitjacket for a female artist to contend with.The exhibition also included a series of photographs of O'Keefe, primarily by Steiglitz. The one at the right I've borrowed from the website of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum -- it's typical of all the photos exhibited in the effect of light and shadows on that strong, compelling face.