Photo of the Week: David Bradley, O’Keeffe After Whistler

Artist David Bradley's O'Keeffe After Whistler at tthe Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe photo Steve Collins

O’Keeffe After Whistler, David Bradley 2007, photo Steve Collins, painting temporarily loaned to the O’Keeffe Museum by the Denver Art Museum

A small exhibition, David Bradley After Georgia O’Keeffe, officially opens in Gallery 3 at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum today alongside the main exhibition From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from The Vilcek Foundation Collection.

Bradley’s 2007 painting O’Keeffe After Whistler takes up one wall of the gallery. It’s surrounded by Georgia O’Keeffe’s artwork and photos of O’Keeffe to demonstrate, according to the museum “his specific and nuanced understanding of O’Keeffe’s life and work.” Bradley, an Anishinaabe, is a registered member of Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation. In its exhibition notes the museum says “Since early in his career, O’Keeffe has made frequent appearances in his paintings. According to the GOK website “Bradley often visualizes O’Keeffe in front of her easel, alone in her studio or within the storied landscapes of her artwork.”

In O’Keeffe After Whistler the artist is dressed and sitting in a chair like Whistler’s mother in the famous work, but here’s where the difference ends. The colorful background includes references to O’Keeffe including a painting on the wall of her beloved Pedernal, the mountain peak she saw from the window of her Ghost Ranch home. Next to it hangs a painting of St. Francis de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, a subject she is known for. Look at the flowers in the vase. Do they look familiar? The kachina she’s painting is reminiscent of her katsinam seen in the musuem’s previous exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam and the Land. According to museum curator, Carolyn Kastner, it’s little known that O’Keeffe had a Siamese cat. Bradley’s knowledge of the artist is so extensive he has garnered this fact and the cat is in his painting.

Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley, a retrospective show is currently on view at Santa Fe’s Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC). O’Keeffe makes an appearance in four of the paintings on view.

Both shows at the O’Keeffe are on view until January 10, 2016. The MIAC show runs through January 16, 2016.


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