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NEW YORK, NY.- Throughout history, women have been creating art forever! They have also been overlooked and undervalued compared to their male counterparts. The challenges they have faced due to gender has created huge barriers in education, training, traveling and representation. They have also been stereotyped as using certain mediums such as textiles and ceramics with insinuations of demoting them to the category of arts and crafts.
For as long as Vallarino has been an art dealer, he has dealt with women artists who have utilized a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture and photography. He has found that women seemed to be freer with their creative attitudes and observations trusting their inner curiosity, intuition and following their instincts. This approach applied more to the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the majority of these artists, at that time, were from wealthy families and werent as competitive with their male counterparts. This changes dramatically in the 20th century with the founding of the American Abstract Artist Group and the New York School of Abstract Expressionism entering the scene. This re-invented American art forever.
In 1936 the American Abstract Artist Group was founded to advance abstract art which was met with extreme criticism. Among the founding members were Esphyr Slobodkina and Alice Trumbull Mason, both having strong opinions and voicing the need to provide exhibition opportunities, publications and panel discussions. This contributed to the acceptance of abstract art in the United States. Both of these women became presidents of the organization for their leadership at a time when that was uncommon.
The Ab Ex movement, as it is referred to, is mainly remembered and defined by Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning with their hard drinking, machismo and gestural action painting. The women of that movement had fallen out of arts historical spotlight until recently and were recognized more as followers instead of true pioneers, as compared to their male peers. Occasionally, they were invited to the Eighth Street Club, known as the The Club, to debate their personal aesthetics and emotions. Eventually the male members of The Club accepted this hard-core group of women artists as it was difficult to deny their valuable input regarding the tenets of the Ab Ex doctrine.
This core group of women never gave in and rose above the gender bias by creating some of the greatest work of the period. Woman like Elaine de Kooning, Mary Abbott, Joan Mitchell, Perle Fine, Michael Corinne West, Alma Thomas and Elizabeth Catlett became role models for women artists over the past 80 years.
VFAs catalogue honors twenty-five women artists for who they were and respect each of their contributions to the history of art, applauding their individual voices that continue to reveal their inner visions that will inspire us forever.