PREVIEW: Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-1970, Whitechapel Gallery

The exhibition is set to run at the gallery from the 9th February 2023.

(c) Wook-kyung Choi, Untitled © Wook-kyung Choi Estate and courtesy to Arte Collectum

The Whitechapel Gallery have announced details of its upcoming exhibition Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artist and Global Abstraction 1940-1970.

Running from the 9th February until the 7th May, this exhibition will feature over 150 paintings by an overlooked generation of 80 international women artists including: Mary Abbott, Etel Adnan, Maliheh Afnan, Ruth Armer, Gillian Ayres, Ida Barbarigo and Noemi di Benedetto. The display will explore their work and how they worked with gestural abstraction in the aftermath of the Second World War.

With more than half of the works selected t be included in this exhibition having never been seen in the UK before, it is displayed thematically from examining how artists were exploring the variable physical characteristics of paint to how they would use painterly expression to explore themes of mythology and symbolism before considering how artists turned to their surroundings and environments as subject matter.

Highlights of the exhibition are set to include:  Helen Frankenthaler’s four-metre-long abstract painting April Mood (1974), Lee Krasner’s work Bald Eagle (1955) and The Illusion of Solidity (c. 1945) by Ukrainian-born artist Janet Sobel (1893-1968).

Talking about the exhibition Laura Smith, Curator, Whitechapel Gallery said: “Action, Gesture, Paint reveals how these international artists were redefining artistic practice as an immersive arena for action, process and consciousness, drawing on the avant-garde movements of Expressionism and Surrealism. We also see how they endowed the ideas and methodologies of the movement with their own specific cultural, political and subjective dimensions. Their paintings were regarded not as images but as events, and they were an important catalyst for changing ideas around aesthetics, poetry, philosophy and politics in their distinct and particular regions.”

To find out more visit: https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/action-gesture-paint-women-and-global-abstraction-1940-70/

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