Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

(posted on 2 Jun 2024)

On Thursday I finally made it out to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), to view a major exhibition - in the nick of time.
"Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore: Giants of Modern Art" ran from February 10 through June 2, 2024; it ended today.
I'd planned to visit this retrospective long before its final week in Montréal, and had even reserved tickets to an MMFA members-only lecture on March 27th.
"Georgia O’Keeffe: An American Phenomenon" was presented by American historian, curator, and independent art scholar Barbara Buhler Lynes, but I unfortunately had to miss it due to a family emergency.
It sounded lovely: "This presentation describes how Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, came to be one of the most recognized American artists and the first woman in this country to achieve such iconic status for her contribution in her lifetime".
And then somehow, after I missed that lecture, each time I'd make new plans to go see the exhibition they'd get derailed... by unplanned medical appointments for my two rare diseases, meetings related to my Dad's estate, car problems, a funeral for a friend' parent, and more.
I'd wanted to see this exhibition, even though I'm not a huge fan of "Modern Art" as a genre, because of the overarching importance of the natural world to both of these artists.
To be honest, this show blew me away; it was absolutely brilliant. These are just a few of the many photos I took, and don't begin to do justice to this exhibition.

"Organized by the San Diego Museum of Art, this groundbreaking exhibition creates a new dialogue between the work of Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and Henry Moore (1898-1986), exploring how these iconic 20th-century artists developed their own shape of modern art firmly rooted in the natural world".
An astoundingly wide range of works by each artist were included, in thought-provoking juxtapositions and placements.

I never thought I'd have the opportunity to view so many of these seminal pieces by either artist, let alone to view recreations of their studio spaces.
Each room of the exhibition was a tribute to the organic shapes that O’Keeffe and Moore preferred and interpreted, as well as to the overarching importance of nature in their work.
This was particularly striking in the large areas dedicated to Bones & Stones, Seashells & Flowers, and Landscapes of Forms.

As noted in a March 2024 piece in Forbes, "Georgia O’Keeffe And Henry Moore Exhibition Reveals Unlikely Pair’s Surprising Bond", these two artists had much in common and may even have met.
"Biographical oddities aside, their deeper connection – one previously unrealized – centers around a shared fascination with nature.
Natural forms in particular.
Seashells, bones, stones, old pieces of wood acquired on walks.
Their respective studios were filled with them.
As were their artworks, obviously in O’Keeffe’s case, more subtly, but no less apparent with Moore once recognized."

"As two of the greatest and most recognized names in the history of Modern art, O’Keeffe and Moore have been the subjects of innumerable exhibitions and publications.
Now, for the first time, their lives and art are examined in parallel in this exhibition presenting over 120 works, together with recreations of each artist’s studio, in a partnership between the Henry Moore Foundation and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In the resulting unique and powerful dialogue, O’Keeffe’s paintings and Moore’s sculptures underscore the fundamental relationship between humanity and the natural world – a theme that will undoubtedly resonate with audiences today."
Well, it definitely resonated with me.
If you have a chance to view this touring event, it's truly worthwhile - and give yourself extra time to wander back to the start of the exhibition and view it all over again, after having read through all the exhibition notes.