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Given the current state of uncertainty in the world, I recommend two powerful and moving exhibitions (in addition to my own solo show Intimacy and Isolation at the Hignell Gallery, Mayfair, London) to help us remember the sense of healing that Art can provide.
Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland offers a deep look at Georgia O’Keeffe’s work including rarely seen paintings from public and private collections from 23 January until 22 May. The show explores O’Keeffe’s unique way of looking at her surroundings and translating them into new and hitherto unseen images of reality. Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings of ﬂowers have deeply affected and profoundly influenced me from my childhood. Her work suggests transcendence into a realm that lies beyond substance; it is poetic and elusive; it is often joyful. Ultimately, her work is mysterious and visionary. The abstract images reflect O’Keeffe’s desire to capture the ‘essence’ and to reveal a multitude of figurative references that she disguises with transparent layers. She takes serious risks with colour and challenges visual harmony in order to stimulate the viewer to look beyond the parameters, to question what they see. I often find myself revisiting her images in my mind, both on dark days when I feel the need for intense light and renewal and, in celebratory moments when I want to share my optimism and sense of possibility.
Also not to be missed is By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800 at the Detroit Institute of Arts from 6 February until 29 May which highlights the largely unexplored role of women artists in Italy from the Renaissance until the Enlightenment. Although many will know the powerful and difficult story of Artemisia Gentileschi and her daring and dynamic work, this show goes further, highlighting the works of a diverse group of Italian women artists, all of whom challenged the conventions and expectations of a male-dominated art world. The variety in their work reveals to the viewer not only their technical skills but their vision, ingenuity and courage as artists.
Intimacy and Isolation is showing at the Hignell Gallery, London until 31 July 2022