fortunavirilis: (Iambic)
[personal profile] fortunavirilis
Yesterday Hu reminded me that the Adams and O'Keefe exhibit was in the last weeks at the Norton. So we headed over there and for $10 total (wow- that's cheap!) we got to see the special exhibit plus the regular galleries. It was really amazing because instead of showing just their major works the show focused on their relationship as artists together and how it shaped their perspectives and styles. Over the course of their lives they each spent time together and apart, but once they met they corresponded frequently and had several occasions to actual work in the same place on the same subject matter at the same time. Through direct quotations and side by side pieces they gallery showing really did a great job of exhibiting their unique styles and also how they did influence each other. You can see how her eye for the living thing pulled him back from just stark mountains sometimes and his eye for the broader picture pushed her in to landscape at times.

The other thing that I love is that Adams often breaks the 'rule of three'- that an image is more interesting if off center or if it divides the field in to three areas, etc. He often shoots a tree or something else dead center filling the photograph- and then there is a painting by O'Keefe that does the exact same thing (it could be the same tree). NZ when showing me my new camera's do-dads was beating me up on the rule of three. But here is the great master of 20th century photography breaking the rule over and over again- and the results are stunning.

I stood there and I saw those photographs and I cried. I have always loved Adams. And I never quite understood his association with O'Keefe with her flowers and her color. But 'listening' to their conversations by looking at their work side by side and reading their quotes I understood how they pushed each other. They were not artist and muse. They were equals who challenged each other constantly to see things differently. 'You aren't looking close enough.' 'All you see is your emotional connection in the moment.' On and on- challenging their notions of what they were seeing.

People talk so much about writers circles- like it is the writers only who gather and talk nowadays. Then there is the artist and the muse. But both of these artists had their muses- nature herself. But they still needed each other throughout their lives to not become stale in their work.

Who here in the land of the ocean-side cubicle farms do I have to challenge me?
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