ref: jYk Feb 25-Mar 2 2018 MALL GALLERIES Looking For Georgia - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index


New Mexico in the

Footsteps of Georgia


Lydia Bauman - Paintings

Karl E Dudman - Photographs

25 February - 2 March

2019 10 am - 5pm

Mall Galleries The Mall

London SW1

Two women artists at different points in history, living on different continents,

pitching themselves against the same dramatic and magnificent wilderness of

New Mexico, with only their own particular techniques as tools...

The legendary Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) needs no introduction.

I most likely do. I am both a landscape painter and an art historian fascinated by the

phenomenon of this iconic American artist and her idiosyncratic interpretations of the

landscape of New Mexico.

I too have been a painter of wilderness for many years. I interpret it in a complex mixed

media technique : I mix pigments into plaster; use resin to trap sand, grit and mica; melt

beeswax and experiment with rusting solutions, patinas, texture gels, embossing

powders, glazes, varnishes and mediums. By these methods I create textured surfaces

strongly evocative of the look and feel of the landscapes I observe around the world.

In late 2016 I stood amongst her iconic paintings of New Mexico desert at the exhibition

“Georgia O'Keeffe” in London's Tate Modern and I asked myself:

- to what extent did her paintings represent the true character of that landscape?

It was perhaps inevitable for me to eventually travel to the country Georgia O’Keeffe called

“my backyard” to check it out for myself. After months of preparation, I finally realised my

ambition in September 2017 when I packed a pair of sturdy shoes, a hat, a sketchbook and a

camera and set off to New Mexico in search of Georgia.

What would it be like to find myself in a landscape so thoroughly appropriated by another,

much celebrated artist ?

How would our different methods serve the character of the


How important is it to know a place well in order to paint it well?

My itinerary took me to Santa Fe where I familiarised myself with the art of Native

American tribes, whose colourful and bold creations influenced the look of much of

O'Keeffe's work.

I then travelled further North to Taos where Georgia, fleeing a cheating husband,

first discovered Northern New Mexico on a visit to a friend in 1929.

Then West to Abiquiu, the quintessential Georgia O’Keeffe country, where the artist set up

two different homes, one right there in the town of Abiquiu, another further North in Ghost

Ranch, Northern New Mexico.

This is the region so redolent of O'Keeffe's paintings, the 'badlands' as she called them:

hills striated in bands of red, ochre and orange; white cliffs and pinnacles of the 'Plaza

Blanca'; dramatic black and grey undulations of the 'Black Place'; cottonwood trees

meandering along the Chama River, and above all, the iconic Mesa Pedernal - flat-topped

mountain which was to O’Keeffe what Mont Ste Victoire was to Cezanne: it was "my

mountain, if I painted it often enough, God told me I could have it.”

One of O’Keeffes favourite motifs, The Plaza Blanca near Abiquiu by Lydia

Bauman, mixed media on canvas 113cmx150cm 2018

O’Keeffe spent nearly sixty years of her long life living in, observing and painting that land,

working in isolation, forging her way towards abstraction and eventually achieving the

status of the most celebrated American female artist of all times.

It was immensely moving and inspiring to follow in the footsteps of the great American

painter. I learned a lot by looking at and sketching the very locations where she lived,

walked and painted and directly comparing them to her paintings. I was surprised to note

that rather than embracing the grandeur and visceral physicality of the desert, O’Keeffe

preferred an abstracted design of smooth shapes, painted in oils on modestly sized

canvases. With her eye firmly fixed on the art trends in New York and Paris and in the

process of becoming the leading light of the Modernist movement, O’Keeffe seems to

have sacrificed the true spirit of the land she loved so much.

This confirmed my longstanding conviction that a different, more robust interpretation of a

land which overpowers, humbles, assails all the senses, might serve the spirit and grandeur

of “Georgia O’Keeffe country” well.

By enriching my vocabulary of techniques I set out to create a body of work which might

evoke in the viewer a response as powerful and as visceral as the landscape of New

Mexico itself.

Lydia Bauman: Chimney Rock in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, heart of Georgia O’Keeffe country.

mixed media on panel, diptych, 4’x 8’, 2018

below: Lydia Bauman m/m studies on paper 12”x 16” showing two of O’Keeffes favourite motifs - the

Kitchen Mesa and the Mesa Pedernal, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM

Lydia Bauman: Red Hill, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

120cmx140cm mixed media with silver leaf on canvas

LYDIA BAUMAN is a Polish born artist and art historian based in London. Having trained

in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and in Art History at the Courtauld

Institute of Art, London, she divides her time between studio practice and lecturing in art

history at the National Gallery and around the UK and abroad. Her mixed media

landscapes have been the subject of over 30 solo exhibitions in the UK, USA, Saudi

Arabia, Morocco and Poland and are in collections worldwide incl Saatchi & Saatchi,

Warner Bros, United Airlines, Deutsche Bank, State Street Bank, Linklaters, Gordon

Ramsey and The Dorchester. @lydiabauman

The exhibition is funded by 111 Backers on Kickstarter

Supported by

New Mexico in Photographs by Karl Dudman will be displayed as part of Looking for

Georgia exhibition.

KARL E DUDMAN has a background in Anthropology (UCL) and Human Geography (Oxford)

with special interest in the entanglments of nature and society and the relationships of people

with the environments in which they live. A writer, award winning photographer and also Lydia

Baumans son, Karl travelled to New Mexico with the artist to record Georgia O’Keeffes

influence on our understanding of New Mexico landscape. He is the author of an exhibition

catalogue essay exploring O’Keeffes place in the many overlapping narratives that have

historically painted this “land of enchantment”. @karmmanuel