Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin, and Florence Miller Pierce is the first exhibition to bring together the work of these four important American women modernists. O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and Pelton (1881-1961) were born six years apart in the 1880s, while Martin (1912-2004) and Pierce (1918-2007) were born six years apart in the 1910s. All four drew on nature as their primary focus, inspired by arid and spare desert environments: O’Keeffe, Pierce and Martin, lived much of their lives in New Mexico, while Pelton resided in Cathedral City near Palm Springs, California.
Through their keen “sense of place” they each developed vocabularies with varying degrees of abstraction, but the four artists share an interest in illumination and a desire to convey transcendence and spirituality in their paintings. This exhibition will be an unprecedented opportunity to document for students, scholars, and the general public the interconnections among these four remarkable figures. The 192-page catalogue, co-published with Merrell of London and New York, will have approximately 75 color images, 25 black and white images, with an introduction by the curator, three guest essays by art historians and a biographical chronology of all four artists.