By Mary Karr

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

John Steinbeck

The days grow shorter, temperatures start to drop, and winter’s first snow is in the air.  What is better on a crisp fall day than curling up in front of the fire with a good book and a cup of tea  It is also the time of the year to travel around the countryside to art and craft shows and flea markets avoiding crush and rush of crowds of people.  Our Hickory Nut Gorge is a glorious center close to numerous wineries, galleries and museums.  It is very charming to experience the gamut of adventures, sightseeing, and cultural attractions.

One such attraction is not too far away and not to be missed.  It is the exciting exhibition of work of “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” at the Renolda House of American Art in Winston-Salem.  The show explores how the artist’s modern sensibility influenced her art, life, homes and persona.

“To create one’s own world takes courage.” Georgia O’Keeffe

There are many of her paintings in the show plus numerous photographs of her by her famous husband, Alfred Stieglitz.  Her personal wardrobe is shown featuring her preference for compact masses, organic silhouettes and little ornamentation.  The exhibition has been organized to explore key themes that place the artist’s self-fashioning within the broader history of modern art, women’s culture and identity formation.  In the first twenty or so years of her career she made black and white her dominate colors in her dress and in her painting palette.  Later in life she moved to rural New Mexico and there began to introduce stronger colors in dress and especially in her paintings.

Georgia O’Keeffe was born in Wisconsin in 1887 and died in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1986. She is one of the most iconic figures in modern American art, and is celebrated for her early abstractions and paintings of flowers and animal bones.  Her paintings are familiar classics of twentieth-century art, and the circumstances of her life are well known.  Although she was born into the staid Victorian world she absorbed the progressive principles of the Arts and Crafts movement.  The abstracted and elemental forms of her paintings were also evident in the way she dressed and lived.

Stieglitz and O’Keeffe collaborated on creating her public person as a regal and remote artist with a contemplative, detached bearing.  Two of our presidents acknowledged her life.  In January 1977, she received the Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford, and in 1985, was awarded National Medal of Arts by President Ronald Reagan.  One cannot help but to be inspired by her example of self-reinvention and lifelong creativity.

The Lake Lure artists continue to show their talents in the area restaurants, galleries, The Mountain Library and in upcoming art shows.  They are gifted artists and worth your time to explore and to meet them.  They are having an art show on November 11, at the Lake Lure Town Hall.