Exhibition Queensland Art Gallery O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith: Making Modernism

I visited the Queensland Art Gallery last week and also the week before to attend the Exhibition: O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith:  Making Modernism.  The Exhibition had also been held in Victoria and the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Exhibition explores the theme through 90 works .  Thirty work portfolios of three artists Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and the well known artists of Australian modernism Margaret Preston (1875-1963) and Grace Cossington Smith (1892-1984).   It was great to see a number of O’Keeffe’s works here but it was also interesting for me to see a large number of Preston and Cossington Smith works.

Although defined as modernists their work is different.  O’Keeffe has a clean, bold, simplified approach to extract and abstract with many works depicting the New Mexico landscape.  Preston has fabulous woodcuts and bright coloured flowers in her still lives and recognition of the centrality of Aboriginal culture. Cossington Smith who lived most of her life in the north shore of Sydney has chosen everyday life as a focus.  The Exhibition was divided into basically a room space for each Artist.  As American curator Cody Hartley writes in the catalogue, each woman, in her irreducible individuality, “found new ways to communicate, new things to say, and new ways to make art significant to their national cultures”.  Modernism may be seen as an attitude to life and lived location.

Exhibition O'Keeffe

I liked the strongness of each artists work like O’Keeffe’s Canna Leaves and Blue A and Blue Black and Grey works, Preston’s bold woodcuts and her oil Australian Coral Flowers and Cossington Smith’s The Sock Knitter.  I came away appreciating the work of Australian Margaret Preston’s work it had far more colour than I had thought from a brief glimpse of a painting a long while ago.  Her colours depict the Australian bush so well in a number of her still life.

I have a Pinterest Board for Margaret Preston https://au.pinterest.com/chocflower/margaret-preston/

and one for Grace Cossington Smith  https://au.pinterest.com/chocflower/grace-cossington-smith/

I own a number of Georgia O’Keefe books.

Reference:  L. Harding and D mimmocchi, Heide Museum of Modern Art and Art Gallery of NSW, 2016, O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith:  Making Modernism

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