Expanding Abstraction: New England Women Painters, 1950 to Now

Installation view, Expanding Abstraction, deCordova
Click images for larger view
On View Apr 07, 2017 - Sep 17, 2017
Exhibition Location: Museum

This exhibition presents a vital yet lesser-known history of abstract painting in New England by showcasing the work of women painters with strong connections to the region. Despite their relative exclusion from mainstream and male-dominated conversations on postwar abstraction, these artists have made significant contributions to the field. Spanning from the 1950s to the present, the works on view in the exhibition expand traditions of abstract painting and testify to the artists’ unwavering productivity and creative innovation.

Drawn primarily from deCordova’s permanent collection, this survey explores diverse techniques, processes, and concepts. The exhibition and interpretation also emphasizes the artists’ contributions, connections, and reception within New England. Expanding Abstraction reveals the complexities of painting in the region and lays the foundation for a more inclusive understanding of abstraction through the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Artists in the exhibition:

Natalie Alper 
Adria Arch 
Dorothy Arnold 
Melinda Ashley 
Kristin Baker 
Cynthia Bloom 
Maggi Brown
Helen Frankenthaler
Sharon Friedman
Jacqueline Gourevitch
Beverly Hallam
Fannie Hillsmith
Sherrill Edwards Hunnibell
Reese Inman
Elizabeth Saalfield Ives
Yeffe Kimball
Jeanne Leger
Alice Trumbull Mason
Maud Morgan
Anne Neely
Roberta Paul
Meg Brown Payson
Irene Rice Pereira
Ann Pibal
Katherine Porter
Terri Priest
Elizabeth Rosenblum
Jo Ann Rothschild
Jo Sandman
Sandi Slone
May Stevens
Barbara Takenaga
Lois Tarlow
Irene Valincius
Barbara Weldon
Lucy White
Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship

Organized by Jennifer Gross, former Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Sarah Montross, Associate Curator.

Support for this exhibition was generously provided by Amy and Jonathan Poorvu, Mary and Donald Shockey, The Meredyth Hyatt Moses Fund, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Deborah A. Hawkins Charitable Trust, Linda and George Kelly, and James and Audrey Foster.

Member Preview: Expanding Abstraction

Thursday, April 6, 12–2 pm
Before the exhibition opens to the public, Members are invited for exclusive preview hours of Expanding Abstraction. Get the first look at the galleries and join in a special discussion with curator Sarah Montross and exhibiting artist Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship.

Curator-led Tour of Expanding Abstraction, 1950s-1970s

Thursday, April 13, 12 pm
Martina Tanga, Koch Curatorial Fellow, and Scout Hutchinson, Curatorial Assistant, offer an in-depth exploration of the paintings created during the first three decades of Expanding Abstraction.

Made by a Woman: Gender and its Relevance to the Arts

Thursday, May 4, 6:30 pm
Dr. Deborah J. Johnson, Professor of Art History and Women’s Studies at Providence College, will explore the benefits and complexities of presenting exhibitions of all women artists.

The Muralist: Tour and Book Discussion with author B. A. Shapiro

Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 pm
Join us for a Curator-led tour of Expanding Abstractions followed by a discussion of The Muralist and women abstract painters with author B. A. Shapiro

Curator-led Tour of Expanding Abstraction, 1980s-now

Thursday, July 13, 12 pm

Sarah Montross, Associate Curator, and Clancy Taylor, Curatorial Intern, lead a focused gallery talk on paintings in Expanding Abstraction created from the 1980s to today.

Outdoor Film Screening: "Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray" and "The 100 Years Show"

Thursday, July 13, 8:00 pm
Enjoy drinks from our new Café Terrace and gather for a screening of two documentary films. Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray (1 hr) and The 100 Years Show (40 mins.) explore the lives and careers of Elizabeth Murray and Carmen Herrera respectively, two important postwar abstract painters.

Curator-led Sculpture Park Tour

Tuesday, September 12, 12 pm
Associate Curator Sarah Montross leads an outdoor tour of abstract works by women artists in the Park.