Wednesday, August 3, 2011
At my show in Cold Spring last month, a visitor brought me a film about Georgia O' Keeffe, a gesture I appreciated though I only just got around to watching it. The film is essentially about the love affair between O'Keeffe and Stieglitz, and mostly matched up with what I have read about her life, but simplified for the pace and limitations of cinema. I usually approach films about artists with a decent dose of skepticism, having watched some flops. There've been some good ones. My main complaints are usually the twin offenses of oversimplifying and misrepresenting, making me want to stand up and clarify in the artist's defense.
What excited me most, naturally, were the scenes filmed in New Mexico. "I was just there!" I exclaimed to the screen. It was no small thrill to have recently seen the desert, the red rocks and that sky, myself. I felt very in the know. It made me want to go back. I'd wanted that anyway, and the urge was renewed. It may be a while, but I think I'll get out there again. I liked seeing the repros of so many paintings, remembering my wish that (while I enjoyed the show that was up) there'd been more of her work on view at the O' Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. In the past couple of months I admittedly got re-absorbed in upstate New York's scenery in the green summertime. That's all good too, but I liked having a reminder of those southwest images and colors from May, and observing, without too much exposition, the way a place gets inside an artist's spirit and grants her solace.