Unfamiliar Again:
Contemporary Women Abstractionists

  • Duration
    August 24 – December 23, 2017
  • Works by
    Rachel Beach, Morgan Blair, Amy Ellingson, Brittany Nelson, Alyse Rosner, Barbara Takenanga, Anne Vieux
  • Curated by
    Monica Ramirez-Montagut

Hailing from across the United States, the artists in this exhibition explore new ways of abstraction based on experimental, process-oriented methods. Intended to defamiliarize common imagery, their practices preclude figurative recognition or easy comprehension.

Their methods are nuanced, time-intensive, and often drawn from unlikely sources such as “DIY” videos on YouTube, Photoshop errors, digital distortions, smart phone apps, and manipulated or synthetic materials such as scanned iridescent paper or faux-suede finishes.

By devoting themselves to process, these established, mid-career, and emerging artists experience revelation in the deliberate progression of steps of creative expression. Such discovery remains elusive for viewers, however, as the artists encourage inquiry rather than providing immediate answers.

About the Artists

Rachel Beach was born in London, Canada and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from Yale University and BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Beach was a 2015 Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and has earned numerous other honors including grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Canada Council for the Arts as well as residencies at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation (Colorado Springs, CO); Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY); and LMCC Process Space (New York, NY), among others. Her work has been shown at institutions such as the Philbrook Museum (Tulsa, OK); Postmasters Gallery (New York, NY); Lennon Weinberg (New York, NY); and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax NS). Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, Hyperallergic, ArtCritical, NYArts, and The Brooklyn Rail.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Morgan Blair moved to New York after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in Ridgewood, Queens. She has shown her work at New York’s The Hole and Greenpoint Terminal Gallery as well as Nudashank in Baltimore, MD, and Left Field Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA. She has painted large-scale murals in settings such as the New York offices of Facebook, Inc.; multi-media arts spaces Death By Audio and Silent Barn; concert venue Mechanics Hall; and the Swanson Road Intermediate School in Auburn, MA. In 2016 she started Puzzle Time, an ongoing series of limited-edition wooden jigsaw puzzles hand-cut by herself and featuring the work of different contemporary artists.

Amy Ellingson lives and works in San Francisco. She received a BA in Studio Art from Scripps College and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Her work is held in various public collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Crocker Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. Chopping Wood on the Astral Plane, Ellingson’s solo exhibition with Eli Ridgway | Contemporary Art, was held at Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, in October 2016. Her public commission, Untitled (Large Variation) is a mosaic mural permanently installed in Terminal 3 at the San Francisco International Airport. She is the recipient of the Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship and the Artadia Grant to Individual Artists.

Brittany Nelson was born in Great Falls, MT and lives and works in Richmond, VA. She received an MFA in photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA in photography from Montana State University. Nelson received a Creative Capital Grant in Visual Arts in 2015 and a Theo Westenberger Foundation Grant for advancing women in the arts in 2016. The following year, she was awarded a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Nelson has had solo exhibitions at numerous venues including PATRON Gallery (Chicago, IL); Morgan Lehman Gallery (New York, NY); David Klein Gallery (Detroit, MI); and Sadie Halie Projects (Minneapolis, MN). Her work has been featured in numerous publications such as The New Yorker, WIRED, Collector Daily, and the New Art Examiner.

Born in Nebraska, Barbara Takenaga attended the University of Colorado Boulder, where she earned both a BFA and an MFA. Recently, she presented Waiting in the Sky, a solo exhibition at DC Moore Gallery in New York City, and a wall project at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Upcoming shows include a twenty-year survey at the Williams College Museum of Art and a new wall project at Space/42 of the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, NY. Takenaga’s work is in the collections of the DeCordova Museum (Lincoln, MA); Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA); Smith College Museum of Art (Northampton, MA); the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (Philadelphia, PA); and Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA), among others. She is represented by DC Moore Gallery, Gregory Lind Gallery (San Francisco, CA); and Shark’s Ink (Lyons, CO). Takenaga lives and works in New York City and teaches at Williams College.

Alyse Rosner holds a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from The American University. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT); Rick Wester Fine Art (New York, NY); Artspace (New Haven, CT); and Kathryn Markel Fine Art (New York City, NY), among others. Rosner has received awards and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and The American University. Rosner’s work was recently acquired by Credit Suisse and can be seen in the Connecticut Artist Collection, as well as numerous private collections. She is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art in New York.

Anne Vieux was born in Michigan and is currently based in New York. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA in Painting and Art History at the Kansas City Art Institute. Vieux’s work has been exhibited in solo shows at Annka Kultys Gallery (London, UK); Good Weather Gallery (Little Rock, AR); and Stream Gallery (New York, NY). Recent group exhibitions have been at The Hole (New York, NY); Silvermine Arts Center (New Canaan, CT); The Willows (New York, NY); CES Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); Regina Rex (New York, NY); Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York, NY); and Cranbrook Museum of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI). Her printed work has been included in the library collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.


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