Thursday, 21 July 2016

PETRA COLLINS PAYS HOMAGE TO PIONEER PAINTER GEORGIA O'KEEFFE



In homage to the opening of the Tate Modern’s retrospective of American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe - the first UK exhibition of the artist's work for over twenty years and the first show to open in the new Tate Modern building - photographer and one of the leading voices of "New-Wave Feminism", Petra Collins, has created a dreamy short film shot with a misty pastel aesthetic, which reinterprets some of O'Keeffe's surreal desertscapes, overlaid by archival interviews with the artist.

“I tried to paint what I saw,” says O'Keeffe in one audio. “I thought someone could tell me how to paint a landscape, but I never found that person. I had to just settle down and try. I thought somebody could tell me how, but I found nobody could. They could tell you how they painted their landscape, but they couldn’t tell me to paint mine.”

Discussing O'Keeffe's use of colour as an inspiration, Collins says, "Her use of it makes me feel like her landscapes are complex beings. That with each stroke of colour, each line, each curve, she's bringing these locations to life. 

Featuring Collins' own creative muses Barbara Ferreira, Lee Armoogam, Seasheel Coker, Maia Ruth Lee and Ajani Russell, the film depicts each girl interacting with her environment. "With this short I wanted each girl to really play with their surroundings (inspired by O'Keeffe's two favourite spots - the desert and Lake George), to use their every inch of skin, muscle, bone, etc and really put themselves into her landscape too - while making their own."

Spanning six decades and featuring over 100 major works, the Tate exhibition will trace the progression of O'Keeffe's early abstract experiments to her late works, aiming to dispel the clich├ęs that persist about the artist and her painting.

“People always wanted to sexualise her, to make her work about sex, to make it about the female body." Collins explains. "It could be, but I found it really interesting that she couldn’t paint her own landscape without people putting these connotations on it. People were telling her, this is this. And she would say, No: My landscape is my landscape. I feel like that’s what I do, and what a lot of the girls in this video do, too.”

The retrospective will be a first for audiences outside of America to view the trailblazing artists' work in depth. Showing 
at the Tate Modern now, the exhibition runs until 30 October, for more info head HERE.


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