Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Modern Art (pt. 7)

Another point about Georgia O'Keeffe's artwork which receives a lot of attention particularly today is her latent sexual imagery.  Many within her series of flower paintings contain double-readings of the plant as a symbol for nature and Mother Nature.  In characterizing this aspect of her subject matter, then, the artist has often painted vague likenesses to the female anatomy.  The maternal breast of Mother Nature may be implied here, whereas other works by the artist show flowers that look like a vagina.  This controversial reading causes us to question what we're seeing when O'Keeffe enlarges an ordinarily small plant to the size of an entire canvas—some filling enormous canvases up to nearly six feet wide.  Is this a statement on sexuality?  After all, flowers are often held to be symbols of femininity.  This could be the personal expression of the artist herself, finding an element of her own human nature in an object from nature; or it could fall back on the role of viewer perception in appreciating artwork.  Like I said, these works are not Surrealistic, but one sees the possibility to perceive, even within commonplace items like flowers, images within images through art and the ability of the painter to stylistically portray subject matter in any way he or she wants.

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