Saturday at the Phillips

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The meaning of a word—to me—is not as exact as the meaning of a color. 
                                           Georgia O'Keeffe

After lunching at a cozy Greek restaurant in Dupont Circle, a dear friend and I headed over to the Phillips Collection to meditate on art, catching the second to last day of the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit. Although we had to share the gallery space with several other cultured white people, I managed to feel an overwhelming sense of peace moving within me as I roamed from room to room.

Perhaps it was the pulsating fluid organic movement of her work.

The charcoal abstracts and distinct composition.

Scenes from Lake George and sensual silver gelatin prints.

It's easy to see why O'Keeffe was received with so much criticism. Her work is both evocative and emotional— frequently depicting abstracts of female anatomy and microscopic reproductive plant parts. Yet, there were moments when I simply wanted to fall into one of her pieces, ensconce myself in movement and color and emerge reborn.

At another frame, it was almost as though I saw the idea of a white rose, while being left to interpret the unknown aspects of the actual representation. And maybe, that's what she aimed to create after all.
Casting aside conventions of her day.
Conveying art as unknown.

In that sense, I suppose she succeeded.

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