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.
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