More than five decades since the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted a posthumous retrospective devoted to the late abstract painter and printmaker Alice Trumbull Mason, the artist’s work is being revisited in an exhibition that aims to recontextualise her as a pioneer of American abstraction, whose work was overshadowed by that of her male peers.
A poignant gallery show of the artist’s “Shutter Paintings” is paired with an exceptional Whitney exhibition of the forward-looking prints that she and her contemporaries made in days gone by.
“Like ordinary everyday experience, except about two inches off the ground”—that’s the Buddhist scholar D. T. Suzuki explaining what enlightenment feels like, but he might as well be talking about the late style of Alice Trumbull Mason, the subject of a quietly superb exhibition at Washburn Gallery.
Alice Trumbull Mason (1904–71) is an artist deserving of reevaluation. A new monograph published by Rizzoli, and an exhibition now on view at Washburn Gallery, should help in that rediscovery.
Alice Trumbull Mason, a painter, printmaker, and vocal proponent of non-objective art who cofounded the American Abstract Artists group in 1936, is among the figures who are getting their due with the reevaluation of the prevailing — typically white, male — narrative of American abstraction.