Women and Abstraction

Women and Abstraction

Rollins College

Alma Thomas, Untitled, 1968. Acrylic on paper, 12 x 17 inches. Collection of Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis. © Alma Thomas.

April 16, 2015
Women and Abstraction

April 18–August 2, 2015

Rollins College
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789-4499
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–4pm,
Saturday–Sunday noon–5pm

T +1 407 646 2526

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Women and Abstraction offers a counterpoint to the widely accepted history of abstraction produced in the United States. Scholars, curators, and gallerists have often presented the story of abstraction through a largely male-driven narrative. Beginning with a point of emphasis on the mid-20th century with works by Mary Abbott, Ruth Asawa, and Elaine de Kooning, this exhibition aims to see women as important producers of challenging and rigorously conceived abstract forms. Furthermore, the exhibition presents a historical continuum from the nature-inspired compositions of the modernist Georgia O’Keeffe to the technology-driven work of contemporary artist Hayal Pozanti. Following an introduction of pioneering women artists, large thematic groupings of architecture, nature, and materiality add structure to the exhibition. While the medium of painting often dominates the discussion of abstraction, diverse media including printmaking, video, and photography are included.

Through 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. 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, Sonia Almeida, Ruth Asawa, Lee Bontecou, Rosemarie Castoro, Elaine DeKooning, Ellen Garvens, Dana Hargrove, Mary Heilmann, Carmen Herrera, Barbara Kasten, Lee Krasner, Doris Leeper, Nava Lubelski, Jane Manus, Jessica McCambly, Julie Mehretu, Joan Mitchell, Sarah Morris, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Howardena Pindell, Hayal Pozanti, Amy Sillman, Shinique Smith, Barbara Sorensen, Pat Steir, and Alma Thomas.

The facts about the presentation of works by women at major museums are grim. Often just five to ten percent of the works presented in modern and contemporary art galleries at most museums in the United States were created by women. Despite the fact that women represent over 50 percent of the population of artists, male artists have more gallery representation and their work sells at greater values. In particular, stories of abstraction have been dominated by male artists—particularly in the case of abstract expressionism and minimalism. To diversify understanding about American art, this exhibition focuses on artists active in the United States.

Additional works related to Women and Abstraction are on view at the Alfond Inn, a not-for profit hotel located on the edge of the Rollins College campus where the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, part of the permanent collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, is presented. This exhibition is curated by Amy Galpin, PhD, Curator of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and will be accompanied by a small publication. In keeping with the Cornell Fine Arts Museum’s commitment to teaching, the object labels and audio guide used to enhance the exhibition were produced by a dedicated group of Rollins College students under the guidance of MacKenzie Moon Ryan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History, Rollins College.


The Cornell Fine Arts Museum
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 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 T +1 407 646 2526 or visit our website.

Visitor information
CFAM public tours: docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm, free private tours for groups of ten or more contact CFAM Education.

Museum admission: free, courtesy of Dale Montgomery ’60


Alfond Inn
300 East New England Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789

Alfond Inn public tours: docent-led tours on Fridays at 1pm, free. Private tours for groups of ten or more contact CFAM Education.


Media contact
Sandy Todd, Cornell Fine Arts Museum: T +1 407 646 1595 / [email protected].



The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, announces the opening of Women and Abstraction

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Rollins College
April 16, 2015

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