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O'Keeffiana: Art and Art Materials from the Extensive Collection of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Georgia O’Keeffe Painting Materials (Brushes and Gloves), Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center Library. Gift of Juan and Anna Marie Hamilton. Photo Credit: Malcom Varon, 2001 © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

SANTA FE, NM.- The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s current exhibition, entitled O’Keeffiana: Art and Art Materials, gives visitors a more greatly defined view of the artist and her meticulous approach to art as demonstrated through a selection of items from the museum’s extensive collection, as well as information gained in the course of the museum’s conservation of her artworks. The exhibition takes place through May 8, 2011, at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson St. in Santa Fe, N.M.

“This exhibition offers a richly varied selection of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s collection of art and art materials. Exhibited together, they open a view into the artist’s studio,” said Carolyn Kastner, curator of the exhibition and associate curator of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Items included in the exhibition start with a diverse selection of O’Keeffe artworks paired with preparatory materials related to those works. Gallery by gallery, O’Keeffe’s creative and technical processes are brought to life in installations of drawings, photographs and notational sketches, assembled around her oil paintings and watercolors.

O’Keeffiana also includes displays of O’Keeffe’s tools: brushes, paints, sketchbooks and unfinished canvases. O’Keeffe’s selections of canvas, paper and paintbrushes were essential to the refined and imaginative compositions she created. Exhibits of her art materials offer viewers the minute and intimate details of her working process.

An artist keenly attuned to her tools, techniques and surroundings, O’Keeffe demonstrated an unusual knowledge of her materials and the wider world around her. “One paints what is around,” O’Keeffe said in 1945. She elaborated on that point in 1976, saying, “I have picked flowers where I found them, have picked up sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood where there were sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood that I liked. When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert I picked them up and took them home too. I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.”

The exhibition invites viewers to experience that sense of wideness and wonder by displaying some of the actual rocks, bones and other found objects that O'Keeffe used as subjects in her work as well as how these objects relate to her pictures of the places where she found them.

Analytical materials sharing insights provided by the conservation-related studies of O’Keeffe’s work done by museum staff over the years are on display, including infrared imaging and paint analysis. “This exhibition offers a wealth of information about O’Keeffe’s materials and her working process, gathered over twelve years of caring for the artist’s legacy,” Kastner said. “For example, Dale Kronkright, our head of conservation, employs infrared photography and chemical analyses to assess the stability of each artwork, which also reveals the artist’s choices.”

Photographs of O’Keeffe working at some of her more well known painting sites are also part of this exhibition. Photographers include Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Maria Chabot, Laura Gilpin, Todd Webb and Tony Vaccarro.

This exhibition promises to delight and illuminate her artistic practice for artists, enthusiasts of the artist and newcomers to her achievement – an achievement that grew directly out of her material environment.

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