“Impressionism Into Abstraction: Pioneering Women Artists” will open Oct. 14 at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery in Wiscasset. The exhibition will feature works by important 19th and 20th century American and European women artists, often overlooked or unrecognized in their day, as well as up and coming contemporary artists.
Of particular note are some vibrant gouaches by Lynne Mapp Drexler (American, 1928-1999). Drexler came to New York in 1956 and studied with Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann. By 1959 she had developed a unique style incorporating the pointillist techniques of the post-impressionists with the abstraction of the New York School. “Untitled I” by Drexler, created in 1959, is an example of the artist’s signature broken brushstrokes of thousands of small squares of vibrant colors. Drexler often spoke of her love of music and one can see a symphony of oranges, yellows, blues and greens pulsating in the abstracted landscape.
Traveling back in time to the 1890s, the gallery visitor can view the work of Anna Boch (Belgian, 1848-1936). In January of 1890, Boch purchased “Red Vineyard” by Vincent Van Gogh, the only known painting that Van Gogh sold in his lifetime. Boch also championed and collected other major French artists like George Seurat but many people don’t know that Boch was an important painter herself. The only female member of Les XX, or the Belgian Twenty, Boch worked in both a pointillist style as well as an impressionist technique on the verge of expressionism. “Anemones” is an energetically executed oil in reds, oranges, alizarin crimson, earthy greens and violets. The flowers seem to dance across the panel’s surface, coming in and out of focus.
Moving forward to the 21st century is the work of Phoebe Colvin Oehmig. Oehmig’s “Seven Days at Sea” is a swirling vortex of blues, purples, ochres and soft greens. A doctoral candidate in marine biology, Oehmig combines her passion for research of ocean life forms from plankton to Maine lobsters with her love of painting. Instead of using paint brushes, she employs a series of large and small rollers to articulate an abstracted aquatic landscape of soft, muted color accented by staccato highlights.
Other noted American and European women artists featured in “Impressionism into Abstraction” include Coba Ritsema (Dutch, 1876-1961), Yolanda Fusco (American, 1920-2009), Edith Varian Cockcroft (American, 1881-1962), Rachel Hartley (American, 1884-1955), Irene Holzer-Weineck (German, 1888-1956), Gina Roma (Italian, 1914-2005), Judith Magyar, Alice Maud Fanner (British, 1865-1930), Lucy Hariot Booth (American, 1869-1952) and Ethel Louise Paddock (American, 1887-1975).
“Impressionism Into Abstraction: Pioneering Women Artists” will be on display through Nov. 30.