Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Women of American Abstract Artists

Opening of Blurring Boundaries at the Ewing Gallery, University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The exhibition is up through December 10


"While American abstraction today is well acknowledged and recorded in critical and academic circles, what remains relatively absent is a conversation regarding the contribution of female artists who took part in its founding and continuing evolution."    --Rebecca DiGiovanna, curator, Blurring Boundaries




The exhibition, Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936-Present, curated by Rebecca DiGiovanna, includes 62 works by 49 past and current members of American Abstract Artists, a group founded in 1936 to bring attention to contemporary American abstraction at a time when figuration and representation held sway.  Blurring Boundaries is a traveling exhibition, currently at its second venue in Knoxville, Tennessee. The installation images here are from its first incarnation at the Clara M. Eagle Gallery at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, September 27-November 1. (Click here for a slideshow.)

We begin with the founders, Esphyr Slobodkina, Gertrude Greene, and Alice Trumbull Mason, and several past presidents, including Merrill Wagner, Beatrice Reise, and Charmion von Weigand. As Di Giovanna wrote in her early notes about the exhibition, "Evidence of women’s presence and participation have long played a significant role in the American Abstract Artists. Among the 40 founding members of AAA, eight were women; of the group’s 15 
presidents, six have been female. The group’s current gender makeup is a nearly even split — forty-five percent are female — still statistically unheard of in the broader art world."

Esphyr Slobodkina, The Red L Abstraction, c. 1940, gouache on paperboard, 7 11/16 x 9 1/8 inches
You'll see this and the other works here in situ as we proceed to installation views


Gertrude Greene, Related Forms, 1947, oil on canvas, 32 x 24 inches
Courtesy of Berry Campbell Gallery, New York City


Alice Trumbull Mason, Magnitude of Memory, 1962, oil on canvas, 36 x 26 inches
Courtesy of Joan Washburn Gallery


 Merrill Wagner, Untitled, 1976, masking tape on paper, 12.5 x 29 inches


Beatrice Reise, Kufa, 2003, ink on paper, 31 x 22.25 inches


Charmion von Weigand, Luminous Lattice, 1958, collage on paper, 16 x 16 inches

Individual artwork images courtesy of AAA and the artists; installation views courtesy of the Clara M. Eagle Gallery, Murray State University, Kentucky


 We begin our tour here, moving counterclockwise around the gallery
 Artists are identified from left to right
Susan Bonfils, Esphyr Slobodkina, Marthe Keller, Lisa Nanni Judith Murray


Marthe Keller, Pre-Op, 1994, oil and mixed media on linen


 Judith Murray, Tribe, oil on linen, 50 x 54 inches


 Kim Uchiyama; Bonfils and Irene Rice Perriera (at oblique angle); Claire Seidl, Joanne Mattera, Judith Murray, Mary Schiliro, Li Trincere; on standing wall: von Wiegand, Slobodkina, Keller; far wall: Gabriele Evertz, Jane Logemann, Rhia Hurt, Susan Smith, Lynne Harlow


Kim Uchiyama, Archeo, 2010, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches


Installation view, with standing wall foreground as a navigation marker


 Laurie Fendrich, #18 2016, 2016, conté on Arches (top) and #8 2015, 2015, conté on Arches; Irene Rousseau, Stretching the Space, 2015, oil, pen, and ink on canvas


 We peek behind the standing wall to get a sense of the space. Work will be identified as we continue.
On floor: Vera Vasek, August 24, 2007 from Tidal Relief Series, 2007; plaster, acrylic, sand, glass fiber, aluminum, with scene from video, below



 Uchiyama, Bonfils, Perriera, Seidl, Mattera


 Emily Berger, AAA outgoing vice president, with Susan Bonfils, Opening #1, 2017, mixed media; and . . .

. . . Irene Rice Perriera, Untitled, c. 1955, gouache on paper



Raquel Rabinovich; corner: Patricia Zarate; Trumbull Mason, Sharon Brant, Joanne Freeman, Lorenza Sannai, Liz Ainslie; foreground: Vasek 

Liz AinslieWay You Could Tell, 2017, oil on canvas



Lorenza Sannai, clockwise from above left: Certe Volte, 2017, acrylic on board; Preparatory drawing for Ordine Sparso and Certe Volte, 2017, digital enlargement; Ordine Sparso, 2017, acrylic on board 


Joanne Freeman, Sweet Spot, 2012, oil on shaped canvas, 30 x 33 inches


 Trumbull Mason, Sharon Brant, Freeman


Sharon Brant, Pink and Red #2, 2017, acrylic on linen, 15 x 30 inches


Mara Held, Clover Vail, Phillis Ideal, Rabinovich, Zarate, Trumbull Mason, Brant, Freeman; foregound, Vasek


Mara Held, Ostinato, 2007, egg tempera on panel, 32 x 48 inches


Clover Vail, #14, 2015, ballpoint on wood panel, 10 x 8 inches


 Ideal, Rabinovich, Zarate, Trumbull Mason

Phillis Ideal, Blue Borrowed, 201`6; acrylic, collage, resin, spray paint on canvas; 40 x 30 inches framed


Raquel Rabinovich, River Library 421 with Rivermaps, 2013; Nile River mud, pencil and glue on Essendia paper;  25 x 33 inches framed



Patricia Zarate, Sweet Spot, 2014, acrylic on wood, 48 x 2.5 x .50 inches


 Katinka Mann, Held, Vail, Ideal, Rabinovich, Zarate, Brant, Freeman; Vasek, foreground

 Ce Roser, Siri Berg, Anne Russinof, Perle Fine


Perle Fine, an early member of AAA, Arriving, 1952, oil on canvas, 50 x 49.5 inches
Courtesy of Berry Campbell Gallery, New York City


Anne Russinof, Inside Out, 2017, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches


Siri Berg, Bars (triptych), 1999, oil on linen, each 12 x 12 inches


Ce Roser, Fanfare, 1986, oil on linen, 23 x 36 inches


 Installation view


Lynn Umlauf, Emily Berger, Karen Schifano


Lynn Umlauf, 3.6.14,  2014; pastel, acrylic, canvas, frame; 20.25 x 18 inches


Emily Berger, Breathe In, 2017, oil on wood, 36 x 28 inches


Karen Schifano, It's Curtains for You, Kid, 2017, flashe on canvas, 22 x 28 inches


 Installation view with Fine, Nanni, Nola Zirin, Melissa Staiger


Nola Zirin, Hide and Seek, 2017, oil and glitter on wood panel, 24 x 36 inches






















Lisa Nanni, Opposing Forest Green and Blaze Orange Waves, 2016; chromate aluminum, art glass, acrylic, 13.50 x 12 x 4 inches
Melissa Staiger, Connection 2 Ways, 2017; assemblage on panel with marble, subway tiles, acrylic paint; 24 x 12 inches


 Jeanne Wilkinson, Beatrice Reise, Gertrude Greene, Gabriele Evertz, Jane Logemann, Rhia Hurt, Susan Smith, Lynne Harlow


Jeanne Wilkinson, Beatrice Reise

Below: Still from Wilkinson's Animated Abstraction 4, 2016, video



Greene, Evertz, Logemann, Hurt, Cecily Kahn, Nancy Manter, Smith


Gabriele Evertz, Toward Light, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 42 x 42 inches


Jane Logemann, Plum-Korean, 2008-9; ink, oil, varnish, on muslin; 36 x 26.50 inches


Rhia Hurt, Pretty in Peach, Reflecting Pool Series, 2018, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 15 x 12 inches


 Cecily Kahn, Laughter and Forgetting, 2017, oil on canvas, 24 20 inches
Nancy Manter, Remembering to Turn . . ., 2017, flashe and charcoal collage on Yupo, 40 x 26 inches


 Susan Smith, SCT 200 Irregular Grid, 2012; collage with found french fry container, watercolor, pencil, framed 14 x 14 inches; and 2 1/2 lb. Irregular Grid, 2012, collage with found french fry container, watercolor, pencil, framed 14 x 14 inches

Lynne Harlow, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 2018; vinyl curtain and acrylic paint; 6 x 8 x 18 feet

Iona Kleinhut, Mare Nostrum: Casalabate, 2017, oil on linen, 30 x 32 inches

 Mary Schiliro, Li Trincere, Charmion von Weigand, Slobodkina, Keller, Evertz, Logemann, Hurt, Smith, Harlow

 Murray in far wall; Schiliro, Li Trincere
On pedestal: Alice Adams, White Corner Cast, 1969, silastic resin, 10 x 4 inches coiled


Mary Schiliro, Drip-dry, 1995; acrylic paint, mylar, clothespins; 60 x 36 inches


Li Trincere, Green 1, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 34 x 1.50 inches


 Seidl, Mattera, Murray


Claire Seidl, Neither Here Nor There, 2016, oil on linen, 30 x 39 inches


Joanne Mattera, Swipe 11, 2016, oil and wax on 300-lb. Fabriano Hot Press,  34 x 26 inches framed


Gail Gregg, Scored, 2012, encaustic on cardboard, 15 x 12 inches


More information about American Abstract Artists
. Website
. Facebook page 
. Curator's essay 
. Images from the second venue, University of Tennessee, Knoxville   


About the curator
Rebecca DiGiovanna is an independent curator from Memphis, Tennessee. She holds a BFA in Museum Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her art historical interests center on artistic identity and themes of migration and diaspora, constructions of gender and “otherness,” and modes of collecting and preservation. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, DiGiovanna worked in the Ewing and Downtown Galleries at UT, Knoxville, where she helped to curate and install exhibitions featuring both regional and international artists. Exhibition highlights include Dutch colorist Fransje Killaars, Color at the Center; architect Richard Meier, Collage Works; and printmaker Ruth Weisberg, Time and Again. She authored essays for Larry Brown—Science and Nature (2016) and Encore(2016). She also co-edited the exhibition catalog for Pinkney Herbert,Distilled: The Narrative Transformed (2015). Her essay, Neither Here nor There: Borrowed Bodies, Third Space, and the Museum, was published in Pursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research, 2015. DiGiovanna currently lives and works in New York City, where she is pursuing an MA in Art History at Hunter College.

10 comments:

  1. Wonderful, Joanne! Thank you for sharing! Now I need to go back and spend some time on each piece.

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  2. Splendid, Joanne.
    Many thanks for your thoughtful coverage!

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  3. Thanks for the virtual tour of a wonderful show!

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  4. Comprehensive and insightful. Thank you, Joanne!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Joanne, for this excellent virtual tour!

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  7. terrific and thank you!

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