See the Sensual Photographic Debut of Collector and Art Patron Maryam Eisler
These sumptuous desert images will calm your soul.
The art collector, patron, and writer Maryam Eisler is staging an exhibition of her own photography at London’s Tristan Hoare gallery, inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s time in the desert in New Mexico.
The exhibition, titled “Searching for Eve in the American West,” was triggered by a book that Eisler worked on in a executive editorial capacity in 2013, about American artists and their studios, titled Art Studio America: Contemporary Artists Spaces.
While spending time at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico, where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted, Eisler was fascinated by the barren landscape and explored the ranch with a colleague until they found the isolated house where O’Keeffe had lived by herself and worked in.
Eisler then left the desert, fully intending to return as soon as possible, but it wasn’t until four years later that she made the journey back to New Mexico.
“I was so taken by the open space, the red canyons surrounding me,” Eisler told artnet News. “I was struck by thinking of her as a woman, living at the time she did. Deciding to do this, on her own, as a single woman was just so daunting.”
Eisler, best known for her philanthropic activities and art collecting, has had a relationship with photography for 15 years, taking courses but exhibiting her work just once during that time. It was something she did for herself but didn’t share with the world. Until now.
The result of both the artist’s passion for photography and her reaction to the desert are a sensual and sumptuous series of female nudes, taken on-site, juxtaposing the youth and femininity of the models with the harshness of the landscape.
The photographs are paired with excerpts from the poetry of E.E. Cummings, Walt Whitman, and Ezra Pound.
“I’m sort of perceived in a certain way by people,” Eisler explained. “I’ve always been on the supporting side whether it be supporting artists or residencies.”
Indeed, Eisler sits on the board of the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the British Museum’s CaMMEA committee (Contemporary and Modern Middle East Acquisitions), and is a member of the Guggenheim’s Middle Eastern Circle and of the Strategic Advisory Panel for the Delfina Foundation.
Despite Eisler’s art world prowess, it was a friend who, upon seeing her photographs, surreptitiously sent them to the gallerist Tristan Hoare, who then asked Eisler to show them in public at his gallery. The resulting show is previewing tonight.
“Searching for Eve in the American West” is on view at Tristan Hoare from November 3-12, 2016.
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