Ladder to the Moon

Georgia O’Keeffe (1958)

This was painted when the artist was 71, making its childlike guilelessness all the more remarkable. I love the quality of air and the feeling of ungrounding: what happens when we reach for something? Do we lose our moorings, or do we fly free? (Probably both.) The softness of the colours here suggests good news. The whole picture is one of transition: the ladder is airborne, immune to gravity; the moon is between full and new; the sky is neither day nor night somehow. OKeeffe said youd push the past out of your way entirely if you could”, and in the way the picture relates to time – escaping the past and striving heavenward – might be said to lend it a spiritual element. What does it mean?”, we might ask of a picture like this. Who cares – the answer is different for everyone – things are infinitely meaning-full in their infinite ways, if only we’re prepared to pay attention.