O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism

georgia-okeeffe-rams-head-blue-morning-glory-1938Showcasing the iconic art of Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the most significant American painters of the twentieth century, alongside modernist masterpieces by the celebrated and pioneering Australian artists, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith, O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith: Making Modernism is currently on display at Heide Museum of Modern Art, before being presented at the Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Developed in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, the paintings of these three artists represent distinct modernist visions that express the identity and culture of their respective nations, the landscape and a sense of place were a tremendous source of inspiration for each of them.

Curated by Lesley Harding (Heide), Denise Mimmochi (AGNSW), Jason Smith (initiating curator) with Cody Hartley and Carolyn Kastner (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum), the exhibition draws together around thirty works by each artist from the breadth of their careers. The exhibition considers similarities and distinctions in their art to bring new perspectives to light about modernism’s dispersal and reinvention as it developed beyond the metropolitan wellspring of Europe.

Though they developed highly individual styles, the artists are connected by their choice of subject, experimentation with light, colour and form, and their commitment to presenting alternative ways of seeing the world. As well as creatively reinventing the still life, each developed a distinct interpretation of place, and in so doing established new means of expressing something of the culture of their respective nations in the twentieth century.

Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the most significant and intriguing artists of the twentieth century, known internationally for her boldly innovative art. Her distinct flowers, dramatic cityscapes, glowing landscapes, and images of bones against the stark desert sky are iconic and original contributions to American Modernism. Making Modernism marks the first time a major body of O’Keeffe’s work has come to Australia.

One of Australia’s most significant artists, Margaret Preston was a key figure in the development of modern art in Sydney from the 1920s to the 1950s. Renowned for her paintings and woodcuts of local landscapes and native flora, she was an outspoken public voice on Australian culture and championed a distinctly Australian style, based on the principles and motifs of modernist, Aboriginal and Asian art.

Grace Cossington Smith is one of Australia’s most celebrated 20th century painters. An important early exponent of modernism in Australia, her work formed part of the first significant wave of Australian responses to European post-impressionism. A brilliant colourist, she drew her subject matter from the familiar surroundings of her home and her experience of Sydney city life, which she transformed into vibrant images of light-infused colour.

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism
Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
Exhibition continues to 19 February 2017
Admission fees apply

For more information, visit: www.heide.com.au for details.

Image: Georgia O’Keeffe Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory 1938, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Making Modernism will also be presented at the Queensland Art Gallery from 11 March – 11 June 2017, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 1 July – 1 October 2017.