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Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction

February 9 - May 7


£1 – £16.50
Women Artists and Global Abstraction

More than 150 paintings by 80 underrepresented worldwide women painters are on display in a major new show –  Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940–70 – at the Whitechapel Gallery from 9 February to 7 May 2023.

The show explores the gestural abstraction methods of several post-World War II international women artists.

The exhibition’s global scope shows that, while Abstract Expressionism is said to have started in the US, there were parallel movements from Art Informel to Arte Povera in Europe, to calligraphic abstraction in East Asia to experimental, highly political practises in Central and South America and the Middle East.

The show includes well-known Abstract Expressionists and lesser-known ones like Mozambican-Italian Bertina Lopes (1924-2012) and South Korean Wook-kyung Choi (1940-1985). Over half of the pieces are UK premieres.

Elaine de Kooning, The Bull, 1959, Courtesy The Levett Collection© EdeK Trust
Elaine de Kooning, The Bull, 1959, Courtesy The Levett Collection © EdeK Trust

Artists from throughout the world began to voice their worries  during the Second World War and a time of intense political struggle. April Mood, Helen Frankenthaler’s four-metre-long abstract painting, opens the exhibition (1974). In the first segment, painters experimented with paint’s physical properties, discarding structure and composition.

The exhibition explores how painters used painterly expressiveness to investigate mythology and symbolism.

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.”

List of Artists

Among the many artists on display are:

Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Wook-kyung Choi, Bertina Lopes, Marta Minujín, Behjat Sadr, Jay DeFeo’, Juanca Francés, Mercedes Pardo, Judith Godwin, Toko Shinoda, Janet Sobel and Chinyee.

Ethel Schwabacher, Woman: Red Sea, Dead Sea, 1951, Courtesy The Levett Collection, © Christopher Schwabacher
Ethel Schwabacher, Woman: Red Sea, Dead Sea, 1951, Courtesy The Levett Collection, © Christopher Schwabacher

Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-70

Runs from 9 February – 7 May 2023 at the Whitechapel Gallery. (Galleries 1, 8 & 9). Tickets: £16.50 (Standard ticket); £9.50 (Concessions); £5 (Student Thursday Lates), £1 (Tuesdays, Tower Hamlets Residents).


Further information can be found at https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/.

Main image: Chinyee, A Touch of Red, 1964, Courtesy of the Artist and Alisan Fine Arts


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Details

Start:
February 9
End:
May 7
Cost:
£1 – £16.50
Event Category:
Topics:
Website:
https://www.whitechapelgallery.org/

Venue

Whitechapel Gallery
77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street
London,Select a State or Province:E1 7QXUnited Kingdom
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