The Beyond, an exhibit that celebrates the art and influence of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, was recently at the North Carolina Art Museum. O’Keeffe’s art was on exhibit as well as the work of artists who were influenced by O’Keeffe. This is the third part of my visit to the exhibit. You can read the first two parts at the links above.
Just as O’Keeffe’s work spanned many different styles and subjects- from landscapes to florals to pure abstracts and even sculpture- the artists whose work is on display with O’Keefe’s are varying in style and subject. The three artists here are interesting because of the cultural influences that come from their multi-ethnic backgrounds.
Negar Ahkami is an Iranian-American artist who mixes Persian art and cultural traditions with modern influences to create wonderfully fantastical art. Her painting, The Source, is a great example. You can see references to the tile art and the elaborate architecture of the Middle East as well as the storytelling traditions of Persia. You can also find the American influence in the beach scene, where sunbathers enjoy a day with the city’s skyline behind the. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of a Western scene that would not be acceptable in most of the Middle East against traditional Persian influences. It’s a beautiful work of art.
Californian artist Anna Valdez has been influenced by her experience at archaeological excavations, where she used sketch books to record and map her findings. The two works on display as part of The Beyond are still-life that act as a visual record or catalog of the scene. The O’Keeffe influence can be seen in the use of the deer skull in this beautiful painting, titled Deer Skull with Blue Vase.
I love Kim Garza’s paintings. The Mexican-Korean artist celebrates the female figure in a way that’s not often seen these days. The figures in her work are browner and rounder than is commonly pictured. I’m a big fan of Colombian artist Fernando Botero, and Garza’s paintings have that feel. As I said, the paintings celebrate the female figure and, in all her paintings, the women are having fun rather than just posing as a subject for the artist. Her painting Ping Pong is a great example. The women, are round, naked, and enjoying life. I love the feeling of joy Garza’s art puts forth. We should all be this happy.
While The Beyond has moved from the North Carolina Museum of Art, it’s making its way around the country and is currently on display at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut. It’s well worth seeing and, if The Beyond makes its way to a museum near you, I recommend you go. You won’t regret it.