Abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint

daffodil detail

Abstract, objective, harmony, trigger... all at once?

…O’Keeffe wrote to William Milliken, director of the Cleveland Art Museum, in 1930: “I know I can not paint a flower, I can not paint the sun or the desert on a bright summer morning but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.”

In view of the artists, this translation of experience into art is not tied to representational form, but may equally well be expressed in abstract terms. The determining factor in this respect is the depth of feeling triggered by the experience of reality. For O’Keeffe, whose pictorial language comprises a harmonious synthesis of abstraction and objectivity, abstract representation frequently provides the means of coming closest to the truth she seeks to express: “It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good for painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or a tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.”

the words of Georgia O’Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986)
from Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887-1986: Flowers in the Desert
by Britta Benke
daffodil photo – barockschloss


O’Keeffe saw an opportunity for painting a personal clarity in the way she abstracted the natural and tangible.

Will close-ups of flowers and bones ever be the same?

I don’t know what she saw. I do know that she makes me want to LOOK.

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