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Blurring Boundaries

The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936-Present


Emily Berger (American, born 1953). Breathe In, 2017. Oil on wood. 36 x 28 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Emily Berger (American, born 1953). Breathe In, 2017. Oil on wood. 36 x 28 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Currently on exhibition

March 28, 2021 – July 25, 2021
Located on the third floor of The Baker Museum


American Abstract Artists (AAA) was founded in 1936, at a time when museums and galleries were still conservative in their exhibition offerings, and abstraction was often presented as “not American” because of its derivation from the European avant-garde. From the outset, women members of AAA have enjoyed a seminal and active role within the group. In contrast to the other artist collectives of the period, AAA provided equal footing for male and female artists. It perhaps resulted from their mutual plight as internal exiles of the art world, and the fact that both male and female members of AAA shared common goals—advocating for abstract art and the inclusion of all abstract artists in museums and galleries.

More than eighty years after its founding, AAA continues to nurture and support a vibrant community of artists with diverse identities and wide-ranging approaches to abstraction. In celebration of this tradition, Blurring Boundaries: The Women of American Abstract Artists, 1936 – Present traces the extraordinary contributions of the female artists within AAA, from the founders to today’s practicing members. The exhibition is an awe-inspiring celebration of this intergenerational group of artists, highlighting the indelible ways in which the women of AAA have shifted and shaped the frontiers of American abstraction.

Included are works by historic members Perle Fine, Esphyr Slobodkina, Irene Rice Pereira, Alice Trumbull Mason and Gertrude Greene, as well as current members including Ce Roser, Irene Rousseau, Judith Murray, Alice Adams, Merrill Wagner and Katinka Mann.


Advance Reservations Required
Please reserve your viewing time in advance.
  Museum Admission


Selected Works

Alice Adams (American, born 1930). White Corner Cast, 1969. Silastic resin. 96 x 4 inches extended; 10 x 4 inches coiled. Courtesy of the artist.

Alice Adams (American, born 1930). White Corner Cast, 1969. Silastic resin. 96 x 4 inches extended; 10 x 4 inches coiled. Courtesy of the artist.

Esphyr Slobodkina (Russian-American, 1908-2002). The Red L Abstraction, ca. 1940. Gouache on paperboard. 7 2/3 x 9 1/8 inches. From the Collection of Laurie Fendrich and Peter Plagens. Courtesy of the Slobodkina Foundation.

Esphyr Slobodkina (Russian-American, 1908-2002). The Red L Abstraction, ca. 1940. Gouache on paperboard. 7 2/3 x 9 1/8 inches. From the Collection of Laurie Fendrich and Peter Plagens. Courtesy of the Slobodkina Foundation.

Lorenza Sannai (Italian, born 1969), Certe Volte, 2017. Acrylic on board. 16 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Lorenza Sannai (Italian, born 1969), Certe Volte, 2017. Acrylic on board. 16 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Cecily Kahn (American, born 1959). Laughter and Forgetting, 2017. Oil on canvas. 24 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Cecily Kahn (American, born 1959). Laughter and Forgetting, 2017. Oil on canvas. 24 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Liz Ainslie (American, born 1978). Way You Could Tell, 2017. Oil on canvas. 48 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Liz Ainslie (American, born 1978). Way You Could Tell, 2017. Oil on canvas. 48 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Nancy Manter (American, born 1952). Remember to Turn…, 2017. Flashe paint and charcoal collage on Yupo paper. 40 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Nancy Manter (American, born 1952). Remember to Turn…, 2017. Flashe paint and charcoal collage on Yupo paper. 40 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Susan Smith (American, born 1950). SCT 200 Irregular Grid, 2012. Collage–found French fry container, watercolor and pencil. 14 x 14 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Susan Smith (American, born 1950). SCT 200 Irregular Grid, 2012. Collage–found French fry container, watercolor and pencil. 14 x 14 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Rhia Hurt (American, born 1977). Pretty in Peach, 2018. Acrylic and watercolor on paper. 15 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Rhia Hurt (American, born 1977). Pretty in Peach, 2018. Acrylic and watercolor on paper. 15 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


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This exhibition is 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, D.C.


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