Press Release- Women and Abstraction

Posted on Apr 14, 2015 in Exhibitions- group, Press Release | No Comments

Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College- Women and Abstraction

Exhibition to examine the fundamental ways in which women artists working in the United States have engaged with abstraction.

on view April 18 to August 2, 2015

Winter Park, FL (January 25, 2015) – During the twentieth century, American women artists experimented with abstraction. Perhaps the most well-known American woman painter is Georgia O’Keeffe, who is represented in the permanent collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. O’Keeffe’s abstract tendencies resulted in dynamic representations of the physical landscape and flowers. Another often cited story of women artists engaged in abstraction comes later in the twentieth century when painters such as Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler engaged with large scale abstraction informed by abstract expressionism and color field painting. This exhibition looks not only at twentieth-century examples, but also demonstrates the role of abstraction in contemporary art. In fact, the relationship between women artists and abstraction was a major theme to emerge from the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Although by no means exhaustive, this exhibition seeks to examine the legacy of women artists and abstraction and to understand a fuller, more dynamic story of modern and contemporary art.   “The exhibition highlights works from our collection yet casts a wider net, weaving a larger narrative made possible by several important loans. In keeping with our teaching mission, it hopes to make us rethink some prevailing notions in the story of American abstraction,” said Ena Heller, Ph.D., the Bruce A. Beal Director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

The facts about the presentation of works by women at major museums are grim. Just five percent of the works presented in modern and contemporary art galleries at most major museums in the United States were created by women. Despite the fact that women represent over fifty percent of the population of artists, male artists have more gallery representation and their work sells at greater value points. In particular, stories of abstraction have been dominated by larger than life male artists-particularly in the case of abstract expressionism and minimalism. To diversify understanding about American art, this exhibition aims to shed light on the contribution of women artists to abstraction from the post-war period to the present.

Though representing women artists together, Women and Abstraction aims not to limit the ways we read the included artists by gender, but attempts to heighten our understanding of the abstract tendencies in American art and to present a broad historical survey highlighting the historical continuum of abstraction and its ongoing innovation. Thematic groupings highlighting formal relationships and influences such as architecture and the natural environment provide a mapping for the exhibition. Moreover, while works by major artists ground the exhibition, this project also highlights artists who have not received proper attention. The list of artists in the exhibition includes: Mary Abbott, Ruth Asawa, Alma Thomas, Amy Sillman, Louise Nevelson, Elaine DeKooning, Barbara Kasten, Howardena Pindell, Lee Bontecou, Rosemarie Castoro, Mary Heilmann, Hayal Pozanti, Carmen Herrera, Lee Krasner, Doris Leeper, Jane Manus, Nava Lubelski, Julie Mehretu, Joan Mitchell, Sarah Morris, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Shinique Smith, Ellen Garvens, Dana Hargrove, Pat Steir, Jessica McCambly, and Barbara Sorensen.

This exhibition is curated by Amy Galpin, Ph.D., Curator of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and will be accompanied by a publication. Rollins students under the direction of MacKenzie Moon Ryan, Ph.D. will participate in the realization of this exhibition and the accompanying educational programming.

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College is the only teaching museum in the greater Orlando area. The Museum’s broad scope collection, recognized as one of the largest and most distinguished collections in Florida, includes more than 5,000 objects ranging from antiquity through contemporary eras, including rare Old Master paintings and a comprehensive collection of prints, drawings, and photographs. In 2013 the Museum forged a partnership with The Alfond Inn-a visionary philanthropic boutique hotel owned by Rollins College, whose proceeds help fund student scholarships-to create a satellite exhibition space for the Museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. For additional information, call 407.646.2526 or visit “Like” CFAM on Facebook and follow on [email protected] as well as [email protected]

Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida’s oldest recognized college. Located in Winter Park, near Orlando, Rollins is consistently ranked as one of the top regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to full-time undergraduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Professional Studies, Rollins offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for working adults through its evening program at the Hamilton Holt School and graduate business degree programs through its Crummer Graduate School of Business, which has been ranked a top MBA program by Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek. Rollins serves approximately 3,200 degree-seeking students annually. For more information, visit “Like” Rollins on Facebook and follow on [email protected]


Museum Location:
Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College
1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789-4499
407.646.2526 (p)

Museum Hours:
Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: noon-5 p.m.
Closed Mondays, major holidays, and during installation periods

CFAM Public Tours:
Free docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.
Private tours for groups of 10 or more email [email protected]

Museum Admission:
FREE ADMISSION courtesy of Dale Montgomery ’60

Alfond Inn Location:
The Alfond Inn at Rollins College
300 East New England Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789

Alfond Inn Art Tours:
Free docent-led tours on Fridays at 1 p.m.
Audio guide available at:

Sandy Todd, Cornell Fine Arts Museum
407.646.1595 /[email protected]

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