New Mexico was nourishing, but part of its nourishment was the way everything was pared back to essentials, the flab cut away. O’Keeffe was getting down to the bones of things, loving the hard, stripped land and the tough, stringent way it forced her to live. Bones were beautiful, with their apertures and cavities, their bleached resilience. She painted them suspended impossibly against the sky, pink and white calico roses tucked coquettishly where ears once were. In 1931 she set a cow skull against draped stripes of red, white and blue. As Randall Griffin observes in Georgia O’Keeffe, it was another territory grab, “calculated to provoke and to cast O’Keeffe as an emphatically national artist”.
female artistflowermorning gloryskullrams head