For Taipei Dangdai 2023, Eric Firestone Gallery is pleased to present a curated selection of work by mid-century women abstractionists who lived and worked in New York City. On view will be paintings by Martha Edelheit, Pat Lipsky, Pat Passlof, Miriam Schapiro, and Nina Yankowitz. Three of these artists—Passlof, Schapiro, and Edelheit—are represented in the groundbreaking current survey of mid-century abstraction by women at The Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Pat Passlof (1928–2011) created abstract paintings that, like poetry, responded to memory, experience, and place without narrative descriptors, with open-ended forms and a variety of marks. In the summer of 1948, Passlof studied painting with Willem de Kooning at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and continued to study with him privately after returning to New York City. Through the 1950s and early ‘60s, Passlof lived and worked on East Tenth Street in New York City: the highly concentrated “art colony” where painters and sculptors gathered to create artist-run spaces to exhibit the new generation of artists. Each Passlof painting contains a variety of approaches to constructing form, and she allowed these elements to co-exist through her intuitive process. Her work often suggests abstracted landscapes, like the later work of Claude Monet. A Passlof painting was acquired in 2022 by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and in 2017 by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work is also represented in the collections of Black Mountain College, the American University Museum, Washington, D.C., and the Milwaukee Museum of Art, WI.
It was at a Tenth Street space, the Reuben Gallery, that Martha Edelheit (b. 1931) first exhibited her “Extension Paintings,” in 1960. Her contemporaries at the Reuben included Lucas Samaras, Jim Dine, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman. They were pushing at the boundaries and definitions of sculpture and painting through participation in Happenings and by creating experimental objects. The abstract extension paintings of Edelheit break the frame of the work and utilize utilitarian objects. Found objects and materials like sheet metal extend off the canvas, signifying an uncontainable energy. Edelheit’s work can be found in the collections of the New York Public library, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, MI, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Miriam Schapiro (1923–2015) is now well-known as a pioneer of the Women’s Art Movement and for her contribution to the Pattern and Decoration Movement. In 1971, she co-founded, with Judy Chicago, the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts. Schapiro’s earlier work of the 1950s is gestural and painterly, but also rooted in the body and experiences of motherhood. Schapiro was the first woman artist to have a solo show at the famed André Emmerich Gallery, in New York City, in 1958. Eric Firestone Gallery will spotlight Schapiro’s “André Emmerich Years” in a solo exhibition in their New York City space from March–May 2023. Schapiro’s work is represented in numerous major museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, Austria, among many others.
Along with Schapiro, Nina Yankowitz (b. 1946) was a founding member of the iconic feminist collective Heresies. Yankowitz has produced a daring body of abstract work imbued with formal and social justice concerns. She began making her "Draped Paintings" and "Pleated Paintings" in the late ‘60s; these bodies of work have a sculptural presence. She used a spray gun to create mists of paint, and hung the unstretched canvases in soft folds, cascading down the wall. By eschewing the historical precedent of wood stretcher bars, the paintings can shift in shape each time they are mounted and assume a variety of identities. Since the 1970s, Yankowitz has been a staple of the booming postwar art scene on the East End of Long Island, New York. Yankowitz spent long periods of time in Southampton at the summer rentals of friends where the sonic environment influenced facets of her practice. She recalls being struck by the melodies produced by birds and insects, in response to which she created a series of painted scores.
Pat Lipsky (b. 1941) spent the summer of 1969 only ten minutes down the road from the home of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner on the East End of Long Island, New York, where she met Krasner. A formative moment, it was during this period that Lipsky conceived her first “wave” paintings. Soaking raw canvas with water, the artist then applied paint by “dancing and playing” (in her words). Drips, splatters, and smears define this early body of work, in which the gesture is paramount. The edges of each canvas in particular pay homage to Pollock’s drip paintings. These vibrant, sinuous paintings are imbued with the energy with which they were made. The artist moved beyond Lyrical Abstraction over the course of her career, exploring Color Field painting and venturing into what Clement Greenberg—the legendary critic and her longtime friend—described as “close-value color.” Lipsky’s work is represented in public collections such as the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Recent press, museum exhibitions, and acquisitions for these artists reinforces their significance. In January 2023, Yankowitz was the subject of a lengthy profile in "Art in America" by Glenn Adamson. The gallery’s recent solo exhibition of paintings by Martha Edelheit was reviewed in the "New York Times" and "Hyperallergic;" a profile of the artist by Katya Kazakina was published in "Artnet." The gallery’s presentation at Frieze Masters London 2022 of Pat Passlof was critically acclaimed and sold-out. Mary Gabriel’s 2018 book "Ninth Street Women" also provided a major spotlight on the women of Abstract Expressionism. This presentation continues to shed light on the major contributions of five women abstractionists in the post-war period.
TAIPEI DANGDAI 2023
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center
Eric Firestone Gallery | Booth #B04
VIP Preview (by invitation only):
Thursday, May 11, 2023 | 2–5PM
Vernissage (by invitation only):
Thursday, May 11, 2023 | 5–8PM
Friday, May 12, 2023 | 11AM–6PM
Saturday, May 13, 2023 | 11AM–6PM
Sunday, May 14, 2023 | 11AM–5:30PM
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1 (4th Floor)
No. 1, Jingmao 2nd Road, Nangang District, Taipei City