If you love color and abstraction, you won’t want to miss the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit currently on display at the Whitney Museum in NY.  By now you’ve read multiple reviews, but it can honestly be said that this is one show you have to see in order to “experience”.

While it is true that Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers and landscapes made her one of the most celebrated figures of twentieth-century art, the radical abstractions she created throughout her career are much less well known. Yet they are equally spectacular. In fact, it is her abstract work that ultimately led to her creation of landscapes and florals, and not the other way around.

For O’Keefe, abstraction offered a medium in which she could portray the “unknown” – the many intense thoughts and ideas she could not express in words. Her work conveys emotional response to people and places, as well as the rhythms of nature and the experience of being enveloped by its mystery and beauty.

The exhibit also chronicles the life saga of an extremely prolific artist, allowing us to feel her emotions as she went through different stages of elation and agony. At times her pieces explode with color, at other more distressful times, color becomes somewhat subdued.


In 1916, O’Keefe burst onto the New York scene with her charcoal abstracts –  some of the most radical works ever produced in the US in the twentieth century. Renowned photographer Alfred Steiglitz, who would shortly become her personal and professional partner, gave her a show in 1917, exhibiting her work for the first time at his “291” gallery.

Witness “Early Abstraction” from 1915 – a linear work that takes on the form of a piece of sculpture.


"Early Abstraction," 1915

Vibrant Oils

She first introduced oils at the Anderson Galleries in 1923, marking the public’s first view of her work since 1917 at “291.” It was a jubilant time for O’Keefe, both artistically and personally, and the vibrant colors she uses – fiery reds, lush greens, erotic greens and yellow – convey her exhilaration. Favorites of ours include “Pink and Green,” 1922, “Corn Dark,” 1924, “Red Canna,” 1925-1928, and “White Sweet Peas,” 1926 (you’ll have to see these for yourself in person).


"Abstraction," 1926


"Grey, Blue & Black-Pink Circle," 1929


"Flower Abstraction," 1924


"Abstraction White Rose," 1927

There is one particularly darker piece from this time period, a work that portrays her experience of undergoing anesthesia before an operation to remove a benign breast cyst – “Black Abstraction,” 1927.

O’Keefe married Steiglitz in 1924 and they spent winters in NYC and summers at his home on Lake George. Many of the colorful lake series were produced during the peaceful times spent there.

Darker times

O’Keefe first started to travel to New Mexico in 1929. Steiglitz was having an affair with a younger woman and she felt the need to escape. In 1932 she suffered a nervous breakdown and stopped painting altogether until 1934. For the next ten years abstraction figured very little into her work until the Black Place Series, which were based on an area in New Mexico 150 miles west of her home at Ghost Ranch.

Paving the way

After Steiglitz’s death in 1946, O’Keefe moved permanently to New Mexico, at which time she began to introduce flat geometric planes of color, a factor that would play a central role in the art of the 1960’s. A great example is “Black Door with Red” from 1954.

A personal favorite is the opening work to the exhibit – “Above the Clouds” – an absolute masterpiece, which was created in the early 1960’s.

Although the exhibit stops around this time period, O’Keefe would go on to expand and evolve through her painting. She died in 1986 – at the ripe old age of 98 – having left an indelible mark on the world of abstract art.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.


"Black Door with Red," 1954

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"Above the Clouds," 1962-63



If travel is the key to art, then artist Roshan Houshmand has successfully unlocked the door to creativity.

Born in the Philippines, where she lived for eight years, Houshmand then moved to Iran, her native land. While she currently lives in upstate New York, she has resided in no less than half a dozen places all over the world, including New York City, New Mexico and Arizona. But, Barcelona, Spain, where she lived for ten years, was the most important place in her life as an artist.

The early years

When Housmand was a child her dad used to manage a paint factory. She fondly remembers her love of playing with the many samples at a very early age. Once she attended art classes, she began to dabble in many facets of the arts – painting, sculpture, lithography – experiencing it all, but she finally focused on painting.

In college her work was mainly abstract in nature, but her travels lead to new inspiration.

On Travel and Particle Theory

Houshmand believes that travel is essential to her painting because the experiences allow her to absorb different colors and visions and to move out of her comfort zone. She also feels that working under unfamiliar circumstances results in the discovery of different techniques. Currently, she teaches at SUNY Delhi as well as private painting students, many of whom join her for painting workshops each January at a chosen venue in the world.



Her flower series are specific examples of the influence of her travels and they emerged from time spent in the deserts of Arizona. These pieces just burst with color and Houshmand admits that some of the magic is due to the fact that these life forms were so out of context to the surroundings.



Houshmand’s most recent paintings are influenced by physics and, specifically, by a lecture that she attended in the summer of 2005 at Columbia University in New York. She soon began creating black and white pieces based on the following of particle trails, and later shifted the technique to color. She explains that this particular technique is all about painting in the moment.

One example is “Zed,” inspired by the photography of particle trails from bubble chambers. The spirals are trails that signify a certain amount of energy transmission and the title, oddly enough, is based on a wacky Dr. Seuss character.



“Celestial Chamber,” while based on particle trails, includes manipulated lines and conveys a sense of telescopic imagery. The horizontal and vertical lines, as well as the spirals, all remind her of map making.

Celestial Chamber

Celestial Chamber

The Painting is in the Process

“Constellation” and the other dot paintings were done in Nicaragua and are meditative compositions based on schools of fish. While creating this piece and others like it, she found a very soothing feeling in the process.



Houshmand paints everyday and she says the process itself is what gets her inspired. Her work continues to evolve over time and these days she is using much more color. All her pieces are extremely organic and one need not understand physics to gain a spiritual sense from her work.



Black Bird

Black Bird

She sells quite a bit of work off of her website as well as on other online venues, like ArtistsinAuction, and through local galleries. We are thrilled that she has joined us in our venture.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.

To view more of Roshan Houshmand’s work, click here.