Women of Abstract Expressionism

Kathline Colvin, Ph.D.Leave a Comment

Kathline Colvin at Palm Springs Art Museum
Helen Frankenthaler

Western Dream By Helen Frankenthaler (1957)

Judith Godwin

Martha Graham-Lamentation by Judith Godwin (1956)

The Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibit, currently on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum, delighted its’ guests who remarked freely while viewing the remarkable paintings during a recent Free 2nd Sunday event (April 9, 2017). Although the 50+ paintings celebrated in this collection are certainly abstract, they invoke meaningful events like the edgy tribute painting Martha Graham-Lamentation by Judith Godwin (1956), the pastel stained canvas ‘landscape’ Western Dream by Helen Frankenthaler (1957), an exploration of blue and yellow in Hudson River Day Line by Joan Mitchell (1955), an abstract motif evoking Giotto’s pre-Renaissance fresco angels in The Beginning by Sonia Gechtoff (1960), and Grace Hartigan’s The King is Dead (1950) bid farewell to Picasso with bold swatches of red, white and blue.

Sonia Gechtoff

The Beginning by Sonia Gechtoff (1960)

Freedom of Expression

Although we are familiar with the “freedom of expression” style that characterizes Abstract Expressionism of the 1940’s and 50’s that emerged in American modern art, most of us have only seen the handful of male artists who became famous. I found the formidable artistry of these 12 women, characterized in the expansive richness of texture and generous color palette, to surpass in elegance and form the works offered by paint-splattering male artists of this era. Such talent with apparent enjoyment during the process of painting was set forth true to style by these gifted women, conveying their ideas with loose dramatic brushwork on a poignant and dramatic scale. Their art was exciting to experience, and note that the tribute to this movement in American modern art is now made complete with this inclusion of the women artists to the period, courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.

Kathline Colvin at Palm Springs Art Museum

Kathline Colvin, Ph.D during the Palm Springs Art Museum’s participant painting experience.

Participant Painting

The PS Art Museum rounded out their Sunday afternoon event by offering a participant painting experience, inviting museum attendees to try their hand at painting in the abstract expressionist style using acrylics on canvas. Adults and children alike crowded into the painting studio to reconsider to an earlier era and enjoy the freedom to express themselves with a personal painting to take away from their day at the museum. Indeed, fun was had by all – especially yours truly!

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