Maud Morgan, Gold Coast II, 1971-2, oil on canvas, 80 x 132 inches, Gift of Spaulding Investment Co.
Sharon Friedman, Tiger Lily, c.1979, acrylic on canvas, 60 ¼ x 64 ¾ inches, The Dr. Beatrice H. Barrett Collection
Katherine Porter, Prague Afternoon, c. 1990, oil on linen, Donated by the late Seon Pierre Bonan, Jerome Lyle Rappaport, Theodore Shoolman, and all of the partners of Charles River Park B. Company
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:
Sherrill Edwards Hunnibell
Elizabeth Saalfield Ives
Alice Trumbull Mason
Meg Brown Payson
Irene Rice Pereira
Jo Ann Rothschild
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, July 13, 12 pm
Sarah Montross, Associate Curator, and Scout Hutchinson, Curatorial Assistant, lead a focused gallery talk on paintings in Expanding Abstraction created from the 1980s to today.