Making Modernism unites three art trailblazers under one roof
Great art is both timeless and unifying – in what other industry will you find work from three different people who have never met that manages to stand individually but still seem intrinsically linked? North American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and Australians Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith lived separate lives but were united by their love of the Modernism genre, creating beautiful pieces that continue to captivate those who come across them. O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism is a groundbreaking exhibition landing at the Queensland Art Gallery on Saturday March 11, uniting these three powerful painters under one welcoming roof.
In Making Modernism, the paintings of each artist represent distinct modernist visions that reflect the identity and culture of their respective nations. Looking at the works in the exhibition, it becomes clear that the landscape and a sense of place were a serious source of inspiration for each of them. While Georgia, Margaret and Grace each developed their own unique style, their work still had some striking fundamental commonalities – the mutual themes and each artist’s approach to the portrayal of modern life serve as a touchstone of how modernism evolved around the world. Margaret and Grace – like their counterpart Georgia in America – have long been held up as trailblazers in the development of modern art in Australia. Though not physically connected, the three artists share similarities in their choice of subject, their experimentation with light, colour and form and their commitment to presenting alternative ways of seeing the world.
Making Modernism brings a major body of Georgia’s work to Australia for the first time and features roughly thirty masterpieces by each artist from the span of their careers, with major paintings from Margaret and Grace on loan from public and private collections across Australia. The opening weekend will see a number of unique events take place to celebrate the exhibition, creating an immersive experience for lovers of modernism. On the Saturday, ticketholders can sit in on a keynote panel discussion or join the curators’ walking tour, and Sunday sees an Australian Modernists walking tour and special musical performance on offer.
You can pick up tickets to Making Modernism at the exhibition ticket desk at Queensland Art Gallery or through QTIX in advance.
Grace Cossington Smith / Landscape at Pentecost, 1929 / Oil on paperboard / 83.7 x 111.8 cm / Art Gallery of South Australia / South Australian Government Grant 1981 © Estate of Grace Cossington Smith
Georgia O’Keeffe / Storm Cloud, Lake George, 1923 / Oil on canvas / 45.7 x 76.5cm / Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Georgia O’Keeffe / Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory, 1938 / Oil on canvas / 50.8 x 76.2 cm / Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Margaret Preston / Aboriginal landscape, 1941 / Oil on canvas / 40 x 52cm / Art Gallery of South Australia / D & JT Mortlock Bequest Fund 1982 © Margaret Rose Preston Estate
Georgia O’Keeffe / Purple Hills Ghost Ranch – 2 / Purple Hills No II, 1934 / Oil on canvas affixed to masonite / 41.3 x 76.8 cm / Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Gift of The Burnett Foundation © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum