Max Watters -
The Last Bus To Riley Street
Exhibition runs from 3 - 21 July 2018
Robert Parr -
Exhibition runs from 3 - 21 July 2018
|Alison Chiam Art Workshops Jervis Bay||
Why the Time is Right for a Joan Mitchell Revival | According to Baltimore Museum Curator Katy Siegel
The sweeping retrospective promises to show a side of the Abstract Expressionist that has gone unappreciated.
The celebrated Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) is getting a major retrospective courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, starting in 2020. Organized by the BMA’s Katy Siegel and SFMOMA’s Sarah Roberts, the show will mark the first survey dedicated to Mitchell in the US in almost two decades, and promises to open an exciting new chapter in the reevaluation of her achievement as a major painter.
“It’s not like she’s an undiscovered artist who people didn’t see,” Siegel told artnet News. Yet even in her case, the curator suggests, there is work to be done to correct the record. “Joan Mitchell was working at an enormously high level for four decades, and people didn’t quite get it because she was a woman. I think people are ready to recognize her greatness.”
The show features 125 artworks including rarely seen paintings and works on paper, tracing the arc of her career from the early years in New York to large-scale multi-panel works made later on in France. As an important member of the New York School, Mitchell achieved the type of success that eluded many of her female peers, becoming immediately recognized for her artistic talent. She has been somewhat eclipsed by her male counterparts in the decades since—but that may be changing.
The announcement of the upcoming retrospective coincides with a dramatic uptick in market interest in Mitchell. According to the artnet Price Database, her record at auction is $16.6 million, set just last month at Christie’s New York by Blueberry (1969). David Zwirner gallery recently took over representation of Mitchell’s estate from New York’s Cheim & Read, just days before the new auction record was set.
Ahead of Art Basel in Basel, running through this weekend, Bloomberg reported that galleries were expecting to move as much as $70 million in Mitchell works at the fair. That estimate seems credible: According to reports, Hauser & Wirth placed Mitchell’s 1969 canvas Compostion with a European collection for $14 million; Lévy Gorvy of London and New York has sold Untitled (1959), which had an asking price of $14 million; and Zwirner sold a third Mitchell, Untitled (1958), for “in the region of its asking price,” which a fair representative said was $7.5 million.
“It’s great when women and people of color get what they deserve,” Siegel said of the recent commercial interest. “It’s too bad that it so often happens after they’re gone. I wish it happened earlier.” The show has been in the works since 2015, well before the current surge in Mitchell’s prices.
In their research, Siegel added, she and Roberts found, while speaking with art institutions and experts around the country, that “there is just a enormous collective energy and feeling of good will and excitement around Mitchell.” She believes that this wide-ranging scholarly reassessment is the driving force behind the market’s newfound recognition of Mitchell’s importance.
“She is the last great, great artist of that generation who hasn’t been fully recognized or given her due. That’s partly because painting was out of fashion, but also because there’s been a really sexist and racist situation, where it was thought that big painting was being made by big white men,” Siegel said. “It’s really important that we’re able to see paintings now by people who are not the same 20 white men.”
Mitchell’s reputation also suffered, according to Siegel, because her work wasn’t conceptual, and focused instead on more everyday, approachable themes. “We’re coming to a place where we can say that people can be brilliant intellectuals and artists without being conceptual,” she explained. “Music, poetry, feeling love for friends, dogs—the things that moved Mitchell, we are more open to valuing again.”
The BMA/SFMOMA show is Mitchell’s first US retrospective since “The Paintings of Joan Mitchell” at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art in 2002, a show that went on to appear at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Des Moines Art Center.
Overseas, the artist was the subject of a 2015 retrospective at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria that traveled to the Museum of Ludwig in Cologne.
The upcoming exhibition will open in Baltimore before touching down at SFMOMA in September 2020 and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in February 2021. It will be double the size of the Whitney show.
Highlights are set to include major works such as the three-panel canvas Bracket (1989), which has been on prominent view at SFMOMA since its reopening in 2016.
“One of the great surprises of the exhibition will be how fresh the work from the last 25 years of her life looks,” said Siegel. “A lot of the artists of her generation died early… Her work continued to develop, but it seemed out of fashion at the time.”
“The way art history was being written, no one wanted to see what your later work looked like. People wanted to see the first thing that was innovative or trendy and then they were onto the next thing,” she added. Now, audiences are becoming more willing to examine the full scope of an artist’s career. For Mitchell, that means late canvases “filled with color and experiment and athleticism,” said Siegel. “She was an amazing athlete, a competitive ice skater, diver, tennis player… it really looks like it could have been made yesterday!”
The curators have also secured important loans such as East Ninth Street (1959), from the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; and the abstract French landscapes Mon Pasage (1967) and No Rain (1976), from the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, respectively. Such masterworks will be supplemented by Mitchell’s sketchbooks, a selection of archival photographs, and examples of other less-well-known facets of her career.
“With the pastels, the works on paper, the collaborations with poets, the small paintings that have almost never been shown, the transitional paintings between the huge masterworks that people are more familiar with, people are going to be amazed by the show and what it means to see Joan Mitchell in the fullness of her dimensions,” Siegel predicted.
(Author: Sarah Cascone)
Congratulations to Sydney based artist Steve Lopes, who has been awarded the 2018 Gallipoli Art Prize. The winning oil painting, 'Exposed Wood, Mont St Quentin', depicts the overgrown landscape of Mont St Quentin on the Western Front where Australian forces fought during WWI.
In 2017 Lopes travelled to the former battlefields of the Western Front in France and Belgium with 10 other Australian artists. About this experience, Lopes reflected, ‘I was particularly moved by the area of St Quentin where the Australian forces fought.’
In August 1918 Australian troops were outnumbered when they attacked five German Divisions entrenched on higher ground at Mont St Quentin. Over four days of fighting, the Australians captured 14,500 German troops, forcing them to retreat to the Hindenburg Line where they lost the war. As Lopes notes, ‘this feat by the Australian troops under Monash’s command was the greatest of the war.’
‘On visiting I found some old trench areas and abandoned parts of the battlefield’ reflects Lopes, who saw this landscape as representing a poetic paradox: on the one hand it embodies the death of 3,000 Australian soldiers, yet on the other hand it is the peaceful home of villagers going about their everyday lives in the farmlands. Lopes’ painting, which took four months to complete, depicts the old battlefield nestled in the woods, reinstating a sense of tranquillity into the tragic yet triumphant landscape.
John Robertson, one of the prize’s judges and Chairperson of the Gallipoli Art Prize, suggested that Exposed Wood, Mont St Quentin was a fitting tribute as 2018 marks the centenary of the official end of hostilities in the First World War: ‘For many of the countries involved hostilities continued, for the Greeks and Turks until 1923 and Russia until 1920, but for Australia, peace and the beginning of repatriation’.
Lopes’ painting, which garnered the $20,000 acquisitive prize funded by the Gallipoli Memorial Club, was chosen from a pool of thirty-three finalists. Highly commended was Craig Hadley’s ‘The Fox and the Night Cannon Men’, a depiction of night artillery practice at North Head, and Rodney Pople’s painting ‘Goulburn War Memorial at 3am’ an evocative representation of the famous Goulburn landmark.
The Gallipoli Art Prize invites painters to submit works reflecting upon the themes loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship as expressed in the Gallipoli Club’s ‘creed’. This year’s judging panel included Jane Watters (Director, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney), Barry Pearce (former Head Curator of Australian Art, AGNSW) and John Robertson (Director, Gallipoli Memorial Club). ‘The broad range of imagery represented in the Prize demonstrates the level of inquiry by the artists into the stories and people from not just the Gallipoli campaign but from other conflicts and also from daily life experiences’ said Watters.
Tjungurrayi is a Pintupi man from the Western Desert, around six and a half hours west of Alice Springs. Though he lives and works in Kintore, the place he associates with most is Wilkinkarra; an enormous, arid salt lake surrounded by rolling sand hills and vast desert flats. Wilkinkarra is an important site for many Pintupi men and women, and plays a central role in the Dreaming stories associated with the area.
The painters who associate with Wilkinkarra each establish their own way of portraying these tales. Just as there are myriad interpretations of ‘The Last Supper’, so too are there countless variations of the Pintupi stories, all painted with an individual hand, told with a nuanced voice. Tjungurrayi’s is certainly a voice that resounds.
Tjungurrayi was a young man in the early 1970s, when the iconic Papunya Tula movement was just beginning. Cutting his teeth in a school of seminal painters, the artist has, throughout his four-decade practice, developed a distinct painting language that stands quite separate from his peers. At its most broad, the dominant element of the Pintupi painting is the concentric circle or square, symbolising a locus or place. There are ancestors, known as Tingari, and stories associated with each locus, and each locus is connected to the next in a complex, yet entirely logical system. This system becomes the basis of knowledge sharing for the Pintupi.
The artist’s early works were centred around these basic elements, painted in a dotted style typical of the era. He’d often paint figuratively too; an actual snake, with beady eyes and darting tongue, filling the canvas. But in the 1990s, something changed. The dotted lines and snakes gave way to pared-back, linear compositions that began to melt and shift across the picture plane. ‘In the mid-1990s, a single work – Untitled (1997) caught my eye,’ recalls Christopher Hodges, director of Utopia Art Sydney. ‘It was a typical composition, but painted in single lines, in a colour scheme that had power and identity.’
Tjungurrayi too knew he was onto something. This work was quickly joined by others with the same pulse, the same power and electricity. They were exhibited in Tjungurrayi’s first solo show at Utopia Art Sydney in 1997, which Hodges describes as ‘startling’. The linear works marked a remarkable divergence in Indigenous painting at the time. ‘It was a ground-breaking moment,’ says Hodges. ‘George had found his own voice and it was unlike anything he, or anyone else, had done before.’ Two decades on, Tjungurrayi has not only mastered this utterly unique visual language, he continues to investigate it, to push the boundaries of what can be achieved on the canvas.
His paintings sit playfully between abstraction and representation; between self and place. They speak to the stories of the Tingari through which the artist understands the world, at the same time echoing the rippling surface of Wilkinkarra, the undulating heat of sun on desert, the rolling formations of a sand dune … and one is not complete without the other.
This unique visual language – and insatiable curiosity to push its limits – has placed Tjungurrayi’s work firmly within the canon of Australian art. His inclusion in the 21st Biennale of Sydney is testament to his deep and profound influence on contemporary practice.
‘George Tjungurrayi came to my attention during my research and exploration of the idea of abstraction,’ says Biennale Artistic Director Mami Kataoka. ‘While Aboriginal paintings have sometimes been articulated in the context of Western abstract expressionism, I consider that the artists have their own ways of depicting reality, including the invisible presences that are a part of our world. Tjungurrayi’s practice presents essential experiences of his own space, both visually and physically, transcending the simple dichotomy of abstraction or figuration.’
The Biennale selection offers shining examples of the different ways Tjungurrayi investigates these visual and physical spaces. A large scale purple and mauve work, Untitled (2017), beautifully demonstrates Tjungurrayi’s tight linear control. In the even larger Untitled (2015), the artist enjoys a vast spread of the plane, his orange and black linear forms filling the picture space. The squares of Tingari ancestors have almost completely merged here, giving way to interlocking vortices of tantalising complexity. In Untitled (2016), Tjungurrayi’s sweeping linear forms take centre stage. Whirling loops and arches rise and recede, dancing together with an optical shift that makes your eye pop. The labyrinthian forms evoke a wonderful feeling of movement through time and space; you can almost see those giant snakes, tongues and all, undulating through it all.
In the square work Untitled (2016) Tjungurrayi explores a different idea altogether. The Tingari circles and squares disappear completely, giving way to line work that kicks up at the sides of the canvas. This is Tjungurrayi’s representation of a spear flying through the air, its inevitable capture by the wind. The resulting works are almost visceral in their execution; we not only see the vibrations of the spear rippling across the picture plane, we can feel its thrum cutting the air as it passes.
The ease through which Tjungurrayi shifts back and forward between these different modes of storytelling – investigating and innovating with every new canvas – speaks of an artist with conviction. He’s one who not only works through the ways he is able to represent the world around him, but also to question it. With every canvas, he activates the picture plane to the point where we are confronted by something new, something captivating. Tjungurrayi’s paintings create for us true moments of aesthetic arrest. They are moments told in a voice that seduces and overwhelms, obliging us to not only see and hear, but to listen, to look deeper and ultimately take account.
(Author: Camilla Wagstaff)
Welcome to Country is a travel guide with a difference. In this book Professor Marcia Langton AM offers practical tourism tips for travellers eager to engage with Indigenous Australia, as well as insights in to language, customs and history.
In the extract below, reproduced with permission, Langton weighs-in on the fraught topic of authenticity in Indigenous art and suggests several strategies for those wishing to purchase ethically from reliable sources.
Art Guide Australia readers in Melbourne can hear Marcia Langton speak in the panel discussion, Walking on Bones, Empowering Memory: Brook Andrew and guests, on 26 June at the State Library of Victoria. Bookings essential.
Establishing the authenticity of an artwork is important for both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and the purchasers of their art. All reputable and ethical commercial galleries and art cooperatives document each piece and the artist, and provide certificates of authenticity. Even so, fraudsters have copied works or made works in the style of famous artists and sold them to naïve buyers. The art cooperatives represented at the Indigenous art fairs are backed by groups such as Desart and the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists, which are governed by elected councils of Aboriginal artists and advocate for their members.
Protection of Aboriginal artists’ rights has been the subject of government inquiries, court cases and campaigns over several decades.
Crudely manufactured goods made in China or Indonesia, and sold to tourists as ‘Aboriginal art’, ‘boomerangs’ and ‘didgeridoos’ fill souvenir shops and galleries in the tourist precincts of Australia. This trade causes immense harm to Indigenous artists and their families, and brings Indigenous art into disrepute. After several copyright cases in the courts, it was a fraud case in Victoria in 2007 that finally delivered justice to the Aboriginal artists whose works had been copied. In the first successful prosecution of art fraud, Pamela Yvonne Liberto and her husband Ivan Liberto were found guilty by a county court jury. They had conned the major art auction houses into selling fraudulent copies. It was reported in the Age newspaper in 2007 that ‘The Libertos received more than $300 000 after forging and selling four paintings, supposedly by renowned artist Rover Thomas, whose work is keenly sought by collectors across the world and attracted a record price when the National Gallery of Australia purchased All That Big Rain Coming from Top Side for $778 000 in 2001.’ Scientific examination of the paint and materials to date the works, carried out by the University of Melbourne Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, provided the evidence of fraud.
Fraud leads to financial losses for the artists and their families, and the artists themselves often feel that their soul has been stolen. Some artists have refused to work again after they discovered copies of their works sold under their name. Clans or traditional land-owning groups own their traditional designs, and often one person in the group is authorised by their father or mother, or grandparent to execute the designs of their people. These designs are inherited, and even though the work of art is intended for the market, the artist feels that they are offering it to the world as a gift with the spirit of their ancestry and special places. Also, the traditional works often depict religious content. In further copyright cases in the 1980s and 1990s, aggrieved artists gave evidence to this effect but these cases did little to protect their rights.(1)
Advice on buying authentic art
It is the work of the catalogue writers and art historians, who meticulously document the art styles and the artists’ biographies, that offers the best protection for the buyer. To verify authenticity it is possible to find examples of artists’ works, their representatives, and the explanations of their works in galleries, published in books, and in catalogues online.
The Art Galleries Association of Australia and the Australia Commercial Galleries Association have websites that list their members.
Reputable galleries subscribe to the Code of Ethics of the National Association for the Visual Arts.(2)
Indigenous Art Code (indigenousartcode.org) was set up in 2010 to preserve and promote ethical trading in Indigenous art. Articles on its website discuss buying art ethically, and the harm caused to artists when people buy fakes. The official Tourism Australia website, www.australia.com, offers the following advice on buying authentic Indigenous art.(3)
Develop an idea of which style of indigenous art you like
Visit the indigenous collections at Australia’s major museums to educate yourself about the different styles of art.
Make sure it’s authentic
As with any art form, indigenous art has authentic works and imitations. It gets more complicated when you learn that the majority of indigenous works are not signed. You can, however, be assured that works are authentic if you buy from members of the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia, the Australian Commercial Galleries Association or the Indigenous Art Code. Those are the blue chip industry bodies that provide authentication and pay artists fair commissions.
High profile auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Lawson-Menzies are also sources of reputable Indigenous art.
Browse at commercial galleries
A number of exceptional commercial galleries across the country have knowledgeable staff that can give professional advice on what to purchase given your interests and budget.
Travel to remote indigenous art centres
There are dozens of community-based Aboriginal art centres, many in remote areas, all over Australia. These centres organise the delivery of supplies to artists and market their art nationally and internationally, often online. Two key umbrella organisations are Desart, which represents 30 Aboriginal art and craft centres in Central Australia, and the Association of Northern and Kimberley Aboriginal Artists of Australia (ANKAAA), which is the peak advocacy and support agency for Aboriginal artists working individually or through 48 remote art centres spread across one million square kilometres (390,000 square miles) in Arnhem Land, Darwin/Katherine, the Kimberley and the Tiwi Islands. Key art centres include Warmun, Waringarri and Mowanjum, in the Kimberley, Buku Larnggay at Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, Balgo in Western Australia, Maruku near Uluru and Tiwi Designs on Bathurst Island. The first art centre in Australia using modern acrylics and canvas was Papunya Tula in the Western Desert. You can buy work at its gallery in Alice Springs. If you would like to visit remote art centres, Palya offers art tours by small plane.
This is an edited extract from Welcome to Country by Marcia Langton published by Hardie Grant Travel, $39.99, and available where all good books are sold.
(Author: by Marcia Langton)
Jamberoo Mountain Road
9 June – 4 August 2018
Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, NSW
In the 1970s, painter Guy Warren and sculptor Bert Flugelman bought adjoining plots of land at Jamberoo, with the rainforest imparting a rich wellspring of inspiration for both artists. ‘I would go down regularly for a week or so at a time and wander through the bush, do a lot of drawing and painting. I simply just liked walking through the bush’, recalls Warren. After Flugelman’s passing in 2013, Warren organised a residency on his former property for a group of contemporary Australian artists, so they too could partake of the creative possibilities of the rainforest.
The exhibition ‘Jamberoo Mountain Road’ at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery presents the results of these artists’ reactions to the rainforest escarpment. It features a diverse spread of works by artists aged 39 to 98: Riste Andrievski, Gina Bruce, Ann Cape, Michelle Cawthorn, Steve Lopes, Euan Macleod, Robert Malherbe, Max Miller, Paul Ryan, Luke Sciberras, Peter Sharp, Ann Thomson, and Guy Warren. Some artists sought out sprawling panoramas or climbed high for vast views through to the coast, while others captured the minutiae of the rainforest – vines, beetles, ferns, birds, trunks and scrub.
For Warren, ‘this exhibition it is not so much about Jamberoo Mountain Road itself as it is about the rainforest, the mists, and the magic of that particular piece of lush country which clings to the edge of the escarpment rising at the western end of the Jamberoo Valley.’ He continues, ‘despite the long and still thriving tradition of landscape painting in Australia there is not a long history of artists working with the rainforest…This indeed might be the first time that a disparate group of artists have set out deliberately to capture what they see as the essence of this area.’
The exhibition reveals not only the incredible bounty of life nurtured by the rainforest – which is the most diverse terrestrial ecosystem on earth – but also its profound poetry and ability to stimulate memories, visions and revelations. ‘I react to this landscape because I like the feeling of being in it. It encompasses you and one becomes a part of it’, reflects Warren.
Artist couple, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, bought their house in East Hampton, New York, when they saw it for sale having visited friends nearby in 1945. Art collector Peggy Guggenheim loaned them the $2,000 they needed for the down payment in exchange for a number of artworks.
Upon moving in, Pollock converted an upstairs bedroom for use as a studio. In 1946, Pollock started using the outside barn as his studio, and Krasner began using the bedroom as hers. Pollock's brother had given him a large collection of square Masonite baseball game boards, which he used to cover the floor of his studio.
Pollock of course used his studio floor to great effect, opting to lay his canvases down on the boards and work from above. “My painting does not come from the easel,” Pollock elaborated, “I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.”
The two artists also had a profound influence on each other’s work. Krasner's extensive training in modern art and her knowledge of contemporary techniques enabled her to teach Pollock many tricks, transforming his conception of what contemporary art could be. In the shared space of their East Hampton studio, Krasner taught her husband the dominant tenets of modernist painting, which helped Pollock to find a new style that fit a more commercial genre of modern art. During this time, Krasner became the main person whose opinion he would trust. But the glory days of their shared idyll came to an end in 1956, when Pollock’s growing alcoholism led to his tragic death in a car crash. Following her husband’s sudden death, Krasner began using the barn as her studio, and continued painting for many years.
The Portuguese born artist Paula Rego works from a studio in north London, which is full of things: a wash-basin that’s not plumbed-in, which once served as a prop for a painting, a large collection of dolls, and lots of different animals, all of which she manipulates, like different characters in a play, moving them around as she composes the story for each piece.
The studio, which was built around 1900, has two enormous roof lanterns, which offer an incredible amount of natural light. Even at the age of 83, Rego still enjoys her work, aiming to start at 10.30 each morning and work until 6.30 in the evening. She works closely alongside her assistant and muse, Lila, but doesn’t let anyone else enter her studio until she comes to the end of completing a painting, when she might ask a friend to give her their thoughts. A reliable source of feedback was her late husband, the artist Victor Willing, who also helped her battle against writers block. “When I couldn’t think what to do next, he told me just to start by reading a story and illustrating it. That was very helpful,” Rego says, “Before that, he once tried to help me by setting up a blue ceramic bowl with oranges in it. (Vic liked Matisse). That didn’t work; I didn’t know what to do with it because it didn’t have a story.”
She has a relatively clear routine, and typically likes to listen to music as she works; opera in the morning, and fado in the afternoon. If she wants to diversify, she might listen to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, or the French singers Mouloudji and Jacqueline François. “I always have a rest after lunch,” Rego explains, “I’ve done that since I was a little girl growing up in Portugal. I eat two rice-cake sandwiches for lunch, full of salad, and a bit of ham or cheese, and an apple. I drink peppermint tea. When I have finished work for the day I enjoy one glass of champagne… I love being in my studio.”
Grayson Perry used to work in a studio block in East London, which was eventually torn down, and is now buried beneath the Olympic park. Since 2014 he has worked in a studio in Islington, in a building that was originally used as a watch factory. You can still see the remnants of the belt-driven machinery.
“For me all studios hark back to my father's shed, where the workbench strewn with tools became the cockpit of a fantasy aircraft journeying to imagined lands,” Perry elucidates, “This is the cosy dream of my creative nest.” The reality is a bright white former watch factory, full of kilns, half-finished pots and smart tablets, which he uses to design his tapestries on Adobe Photoshop.
His studio is also lined with many books. As Perry explains, “My imagination is fine for sweeping generalities, but the details need researching.” His work is always referring to a variety of different literary sources, but he describes Kate Fox’s Watching the English as his ‘Bible’. He typically works whilst listening to music, or Radio 4, and next to his extensive CD shelf he keeps a photo of his daughter, Flo. He has two kilns, one red, one blue. Atop the first is a small statue of a woman he describes as his ‘kiln goddess’, while a gold bust of Alan Measles, his childhood teddy bear, looks after the second one.
Georgia O'Keeffe’s studio in New Mexico couldn’t have been more different to Bacon’s. Clean, minimalistic and serene, the artist’s studio remains located on the east side of the small unincorporated village of Abiquiú. The building, in which O’Keeffe lived from 1945 until 1984, is a single storey adobe structure, built in the traditional style, on a 5000 square foot Spanish Colonial-era compound that was in total ruin when she found it. O’Keeffe spent four years restoring the building, helping redesign its thick adobe walls and flat roof, which are supported by a collection of wooden viga beams.
Although it retains some traditional features, the house also displays a number of modernist elements, including skylights and large windows, which provided O’Keeffe with expansive views of the surrounding landscape and abundant natural light. O'Keeffe was insistent on building a studio that didn’t adhere strictly to traditional form, stating "I didn't want a Spanish house; I didn't want an Indian house, or a Mexican house; I wanted my house!"
Having become preoccupied with capturing the colorful landscapes of the badlands of New Mexico, O’Keeffe would drive many miles each day, seeking mountains, rocks, animal bones, or vegetation, which she would either collect or paint in situ. O’Keeffe was extremely organized. She kept all her drawings in named file folders, took photographs of her still subjects from many different angles, and in different lighting states, and always kept her brushes meticulously trimmed.
She would often take the objects she found in her long desert wanderings back to her studio. As she recalled, “I have picked flowers where I found them, have picked up seashells and rocks and pieces of wood where there were seashells and rocks and pieces of wood that I liked. When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert I picked them up and took them home too. I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.”