Exhibition: A Female Landscape and the Abstract Gesture

Thursday, Jun 13, 2024 from 12:00pm to 4:30pm
Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery, Byerly Hall
8 Garden Street

Galerie Lelong & Co. is pleased to announce Mildred Thompson's inclusion in the exhibition A Female Landscape and the Abstract Gesture at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The exhibition explores how four artists nailed, glued, unraveled, twisted, folded, pierced, tied, and, most importantly, fastened—all to aesthetic effect—to highlight the labor of art making. Centering on the work of Thompson, the exhibition represents the physical action of creating artwork and, in Thompson’s words, makes the invisible visible. The works in this exhibition demonstrate the ways in which Thompson, Howardena Pindell, Maren Hassinger, and Liliana Porter navigated art making during times of social rupture and sought their way through with novel, reparative gestures.

The exhibition takes its title from Thompson’s six-foot-long accordion-fold book A Female Landscape (1977), a gift from the artist to the writer, philosopher, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, which is on display in the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery. The rarely exhibited artwork, housed by the Spelman College Archives, abstractly renders in pen and ink the intimate details and contours of a woman’s body. This singular work is joined by a selection of Thompson’s etchings and artworks made of wood, all originating from her estate and including a new acquisition by the Harvard Art Museums. The exhibition highlights Thompson’s deft hand and use of diverse techniques to create her own idiosyncratic abstract language. Thompson’s artworks appear alongside prints, sculptures, and assemblages by Howardena Pindell, Maren Hassinger, and Liliana Porter.  

The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by visiting curator Chassidy Winestock, whose doctoral dissertation focuses, in part, on abstraction in the work of the four artists. Thompson, Pindell, Hassinger, and Porter have, since the 2000s, received increased recognition, and in the 1960s to 1970s, fastened, while highlighting the materiality of the line. They responded to minimalism’s continuing influence and the period’s attention to additive methods of making while attaching those interventions to movements in this era of profound change.