Hiding in Plain Sight: Female Abstract Expressionists in 1950’s and 60’s America at Amar Gallery

Go down the stairs at Amar Gallery in Islington to encounter a gem of a show about the female Abstract Impressionist artists working at the same time as those male painters we’re already so familiar with: Pollock, Rothko, De Kooning, Newman etc. It was a very macho movement with the women producing work of equal power and interest but not promoted in the same way due to their gender.

One of the better known women was Helen Frankenthaler whose  charismatic Moon Spin  I could have sat in front of for hours.Photo by Caroline BanksOther impressive work included Warm Rain I by Ethel SchwabacherPhoto by Caroline Banksand one of her luminous colour studiesPhoto by Caroline BanksWhite by Grace Hartigan reminded me of the colouring of Jackson Pollocks’ Blue Poles – hers is dated a year before his painting.

Photo by Caroline BanksUntitled, Bull abstract by Elaine de Kooning captures the force and dynamism of the beast.
Photo by Caroline BanksI can see a direct link between the work of Mary Abbott’s Untitled – Haiti and that of Chris Ofili 50 years later.Photo by Caroline Banks