The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting, curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, on view in New York City through July 15.
This group exhibition includes paintings by Etel Adnan, Candida Alvarez, Lisa Beck, Andrea Belag, Lecia Dole-Recio, Pam Glick, Joanne Greenbaum, Clare Grill, Mary Heilmann, Shirley Kaneda, Al Loving, Jiha Moon, Rebecca Morris, James (Jamie) Nares, Pat Passlof, Sandira Payne, Erika Ranee, Miriam Schapiro, Peter Shear, Alan Shields, Amy Sillman, and Lesley Vance.
Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue featuring “Soft Power,” an essay by Jennifer Samet, and “Painting and its Others: In the Realm of the Feminine” by Shirley Kaneda, first published in Arts Magazine in 1991.
The Feminine in Abstract Painting explores the feminine through aesthetics, not identity or gender. These artistic choices, for example, utilize an open-ended process and vulnerability — one must recognize the trauma of having works by women described as “feminine” disparagingly, as something an artist must overcome. However, through today’s lens, we can analyze and develop a richer understanding that is not defined by success or lack thereof. The exhibition considers the historical basis of one’s associations with the feminine and draws attention to how we determine what to categorize as such.
The painter Lecia Dole-Recio considers her abstraction political: “I think about non-hierarchical environments. That informs how I make work. If one thing is coming forward too much, you have to balance it by making another area a little louder… The ideal is not being required to define oneself as one thing or another, in terms of gender or sexual orientation. That is what I mean by ambiguity: something that is not necessarily explained to you right away.”
Co-curator Jennifer Samet concludes, “I am compelled by painting that seduces, rather than declares, and this is a kind of ‘soft power’ I associate with the feminine. The space of desire between longing and having — which painting, particularly abstraction, ultimately represents — is its power.”
Imagined for the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation with care to contemporary gender discourse, The Feminine in Abstract Painting synthesizes six years of thought between the curators. Samet describes the feminine as a slippery concept, but a rewarding one, and worth the risk.
For more information, visit resnickpasslof.org.
This exhibition program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.