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March 1, 2024 - March 31, 2024

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small.” – Georgia O’Keeffe, An American Place exhibition catalogue, 1939¹

In 2014, the American Modernist painter, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), made history when her painting Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1 (1932) sold for $44.4 million, quadrupling its estimated value and becoming the most expensive work by a woman artist ever sold at auction.² A decade later, this record remains unbroken, continuing to motivate and challenge women artists like those of the 44.4 Mother/Artist Collective. Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1 serves as a steadfast muse, inspiring not only this new exhibition but the formation of the collective itself. 

Although O'Keeffe desired children, she faced a dilemma familiar to many women: choosing between family and career.³ As the revered Mother of American Modernism, she chose the latter, leaving us to ponder the ramifications on her artistic influence had she chosen differently.⁴ In Nobody Sees a Flower, the 44.4 Mother/Artist Collective presents a collection of work informed by O’Keeffe’s legacy, diversely engaging with her poignant observation: “Nobody sees a flower…” 

Exploring the intricate intersections of art, motherhood, and societal perspectives, the exhibited works vary significantly, mirroring the unique lived experiences of Mothers/Artists. By embracing both the celebrated and unseen aspects of motherhood, the collection draws parallels with the jimsonweed, balancing contrasting elements such as beauty and toxicity, as well as the roles of Mother and Artist. Nobody Sees a Flower prompts introspection into the depth of our appreciation for both motherhood and the art it inspires.  

Text by Moira Power (curator of exhibition)

This exhibition was made possible through a partnership between the Ottawa Art Gallery and the 44.4 Mother/Artist Collective, whose collaboration continues through the OAG’s In-Reach program. The 44.4 Mother/Artist Collective’s new merchandise and art are also available for purchase at the OAG Shop

The 44.4 Mother/Artist Collective is a growing group of women artists working on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. Bridging motherhood and art, their collective shares knowledge, supports creative self-actualization, and empowers professional advancement. Participating artists include Sarah AndersonJennifer CherniackRebecca ClouâtreSarah Jane EstabrooksGreta GripSayward JohnsonAlexa MazzarelloAndrea MuellerKristine NyborgLucie Raymond, and Victoria Solan.

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