O´Keeffe’s independent exploration destinations became remote when she purchased a Model A Ford. Among the many different subjects of O’Keeffe’s artwork were large wooden crosses.
These wooden crosses were erected throughout the Southwestern landscape by clandestine Catholic lay brotherhoods called Penitentes. Evidently, the Catholic Church exerted much influence over the imagery of the New Mexican landscape. The influence dominates such paintings as Black Cross (1929).
Black Cross symbolizes the religion of an enormous population of people.
The painting’s black trifurcated silhouette echoes Stieglitz’s and O’Keeffe’s own Chestnut Tree (1919). Notable formal strength is achieved through the stark and plain cruciform that dominates and almost obliterates the sky and the background.
At the back of the inexorable black geometry of the cross is a surge of excessive turbulence; the distant ripple of red hills. The juxtaposition of the two opposing forces (order and passion) is represented in brilliant and compelling terms and demonstrates the artist’s personal conviction.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) was an American artist. Born in Wisconsin, she first came to the attention of the New York art scene in 1916.
O'Keeffe created large-format paintings of enlarged blossoms, displaying them close up as if seen through a magnifying lens. Georgia O´Keeffe discovered the Southwestern landscape in 1912.
The colorful landscape of Mexico, the strong light, and starkness of contrast, fascinated O’Keeffe, and she later bought a ranch in the bare desert of New Mexico.
Her work mostly featured natural objects such as animal bones, flowers, and even shells, as central themes. As she approached all of her objects, whether landscapes or bones, buildings or flowers, she magnified objects and simplified details to underscore their essential beauty.
Additionally, her artistic drive and creativity were not hampered in the New Mexican wilderness. The artist had room to explore and contemplate the environment around her and the connection she sought through her artwork.