Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936 – Present

Baker Gallery

"Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936 - Present" traces the extraordinary contributions of the female artists in American Abstract Artists (AAA), from the founders to today’s practicing members. An awe-inspiring celebration of this intergenerational group of artists, this exhibition highlights the extraordinary ways in which the women of AAA have, for more than eighty years, shifted and shaped the frontiers of American abstraction.

More about this exhibition

Blurring Boundaries explores the artists’ astounding range of styles, including their individual approaches to the guiding principles of abstraction: color, space, light, material, and process.  Included are works by historic members Perle Fine, Esphyr Slobodkina, Charmion von Wiegand, Irene Rice Pereira, Alice Trumbull Mason, and Gertrude Greene, as well as current members such as Ce Roser, Irene Rousseau, Judith Murray, Alice Adams, Merrill Wagner and Katinka Mann.

Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936-Present was organized by The Clara M. Eagle Gallery, Murray State University, Murray, KY and the Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.


More about Women in American Abstract Artists:

When American Abstract Artists was founded in 1936, museums and galleries were still conservative in their exhibition offerings, often casting abstraction as elusive or “not American” because of its derivation from the European avant-garde. Women artists who embraced abstraction—many as a haven from gender bias—found the new collective particularly welcoming. In the 1930s, the art world had ample room for models and mistresses, but not for women artists in their own right. Abstraction gave women a freedom they did not have when painting representationally, where they were expected to adhere to gender-appropriate subjects like pastel flowers or beatific children.


In contrast to other abstract artist collectives of the time, where equal footing for women was unusual, women within AAA have enjoyed a remarkably active history and generative role since the group’s founding. Among the thirty-nine founding members of AAA, nine were women. Of the group’s eighteen presidents, seven have been female. Even today, the group’s membership—a nearly even divide between men and women—remains remarkable within the broader art world.