Modern and Contemporary Women in Abstraction Get Their Due in New York Group Show

There has been a wave of interest throughout the artworld recently to revisit and reappraise the work of women artists specifically within the context of 20th-century Modernism and some of its greatest movements, such as Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting. A group show presented by Almine Rech in New York aims to continue this line of inquiry and further ongoing efforts to remediate the underrepresentation of women artists in the art historical canon. “Gesture & Form: Women in Abstraction,” on view through June 15, 2024, features the work of twenty Modern and contemporary artists working—and innovating—within the field of abstraction.

Installation view of “Gesture & Form: Women in Abstraction” (2024) Almine Rech, New York, Upper East Side. Photo: Thomas Barratt. © The Estate of Helen Frankenthaler, the Estate of Emily Mason, Sarah Crowner. Courtesy of the Estates, the artist, and Almine Rech.

Among the towering figures of abstraction on view are artists like Elaine de Kooning and Helen Frankenthaler, who were at the forefront Abstract Expressionism as well as the post-war shift of the art world from Paris to New York. Their pioneering practices were pivotal to the development and trajectory of abstraction and have only comparatively recently received similar acclaim and recognition as the male artists of the period.

Beyond simply highlighting the work of artistic juggernauts, the exhibition also explores the plurality of abstraction that women artists have historically engaged with. Pieces by artists such as Vivian Springford and Emily Mason show how variations on similar techniques, such as the manipulation or pouring of pigment and their chosen supports, can result in myriad avenues of creative exploration.

Installation view of “Gesture & Form: Women in Abstraction” (2024) Almine Rech, New York, Upper East Side. Photo: Thomas Barratt. © The Vivian Springford Administration, Minjung Kim. Courtesy of the Estate, the artist, and Almine Rech.

Further, investigations into some of the core tenets of the medium such as form and color, as can be seen in the work of artists on view like Mary Ramsden and Selma Parlour, can expand the possibilities of abstraction. Texture, both physical and perceived on the canvas, geometric shapes, and opticality are brought to the forefront of the genre.

And of course, the diversity of each artist’s source of inspiration presents a new perspective on the driving motivation to investigate and forward abstraction as well. Referencing the natural realm, Sasha Ferré and Jemima Murphy’s works are ethereal and otherworldly, while in pieces by Minjung Kim and Tia-Thuy Nguyen references to their respective cultures can be seen within.

Installation view of “Gesture & Form: Women in Abstraction” (2024) at Almine Rech, New York, Upper East Side. Photo: Thomas Barratt. Courtesy of the artists and Almine Rech.

The works featured in “Gesture & Form: Women in Abstraction” together present not only an unparalleled opportunity to view a dazzling array of work by some of the most influential abstractionists historic through today but contribute to and advance the dialogue around women artists understandings of art history today.

Gesture & Form: Women in Abstraction” is on view at Almine Rech’s Upper East Side location in New York through June 15, 2024.

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