Famed American artist Georgia O’Keeffe is the focus of Alicia Inez Guzmán’s latest work, Georgia O’Keeffe At Home. Exploring the relationship between O’Keeffe’s location and the work she produced, Guzmán takes readers from Texas, to New York, to New Mexico, in a book that is part beautiful coffee table literature, part in depth art historical study.
“Where I was born and how I have lived is unimportant. It’s what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”
That O’Keeffe quote is both the opener and the guiding light of Guzmán’s book, setting out the difficult task ahead of the author – building a portrait of the artist without resorting to the old art historical habits of searching for them in their own work. But O’Keeffe gave Guzmán at least something to work with, with Guzmán focusing on the contrasting yet equally vibrant locales, such as New York City and Santa Fe, that the artist called home at one time or another.
Paintings and drawings are matched to locations, their transgressions against the contemporary artistic norm noted. Over 160 pages, an image of O’Keeffe emerges, a woman shifting between a bustling metropolis and a vast, dusty outback, taking her art with her as she went. True to O’Keeffe’s words, what she did with where she went is certainly of interest.
In purely aesthetic terms, Georgia O’Keeffe At Home is a beautiful book. An over-sized hardback, packed with gorgeous colour copies of O’Keeffe’s work and a plethora of accompanying photographs, it suits the coffee table art book crowd down to the ground. But Guzmán knows, loves, and respects her subject all too well for this to be seen just as a collection of O’Keeffe’s work and a brief who, what, and when. In fact, Guzmán’s biography of the artist is compelling and interesting, worthy of a read even without the stunning visual accompaniments.
Drawing on O’Keeffe’s personal archives, Georgia O’Keeffe At Home is a detailed look at a fascinating and creative woman. It might be a little cumbersome to whip out for some light reading on the bus, so, art fans, curl up on the sofa instead and let O’Keeffe’s unique body of work transport you to the American Badlands and beyond.
Alicia Inez Guzmán’s Georgia O’Keeffe At Home is published by Quarto UK and distributed by Murdoch Books in Australia. Available to purchase from October 5th.