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 and the exhibition
. Website
. Facebook page 
. Curator's essay 
. Images from the second venue, University of Tennessee, Knoxville   
. Review by D. Dominick Lombardi in Artes Magazine

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.