Labyrinth of Forms: Women and Abstraction, 1930–1950

The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Oct 9, 2021–Mar 2022

Labyrinth of Closed Forms
Alice Trumbull Mason “Labyrinth of Closed Forms,” 1945, etching, aquatint, and embossing, 14 1/4 × 19 5/16in., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York © 2021 Emily Mason | Alice Trumbull Mason Foundation

During the 1930s and 1940s, abstraction began to gain momentum as an exciting, fresh approach to modern artmaking in the United States, and a small assortment of American artists dedicated themselves to it. Labyrinth of Forms, a title inspired by an Alice Trumbull Mason work in this exhibition, alludes to the sense of discovery that drove these artists’ attempts to establish a visual form that reflected the advances of the twentieth century.

Many of these abstractionists were women, and their efforts propelled the formal, technical, and conceptual evolution of abstract art in this country. A few, such as Lee Krasner and Louise Nevelson, have been duly recognized, but most remain overlooked despite their contributions to this movement. With over thirty works by twenty-seven artists drawn almost entirely from the Whitney’s permanent collection, Labyrinth of Forms highlights both the achievements of these artists and the ways in which works on paper served as sites for important experimentation and innovation in abstract art.

This exhibition is organized by Sarah Humphreville, Senior Curatorial Assistant.

Generous support for Labyrinth of Forms: Women and Abstraction, 1930–1950 is provided by David Bolger and Mark Lancaster.

For more information, please visit The Whitney Museum of American Art.