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Into the Great Wide Open

When the closest you’ve been to wide-open spaces is little more than the nature screensaver montage that plays when your computer enters sleep mode, it’s time to unplug and step outside. Take root in the great outdoors and revisit the masters of American landscape with “Natural Affinities” this week. The exhibit reunites two friends and American icons — painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams — with works that reflect the depth and complexities offered in the natural world. Forty O’Keeffe paintings and 54 Adams photographs explore the anatomy of America’s sprawling, rugged mountains and deserts, especially in New Mexico where the two would brainstorm at O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch.

It was Gertrude Stein’s belief that a rose is never simply a rose. In Adams’ photographs, the flower is a necessary accent to a sloping hillside, while in O’Keeffe’s work, it’s a series of contoured lines and deeply contrasted colors that critics have deemed “vulva-esque.”

“Natural Affinities” runs now through May 3 at the Norton Museum of Art, found at 1451 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach. Admission costs $12. Doors are open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 561-832-5196, or visit
Jan. 28-May 3, 2009

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Terra Sullivan

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