For a woman working in the vein of abstract expressionism in the first half of the 19th century, Lee Krasner is a noteworthy figure. She was an American painter who was married to Jackson Pollock, himself a very important figure in the movement of abstract expressionism, which was the movement that Krasner was apart of. Being a female painter at that time was not always without it’s difficulties, as the Civil Rights movement was being fought in the latter part of her career. Perhaps most telling of the difficulties was when her teacher pronounced that she painted so well that a person “would not know it was painted by a woman.
Her artwork followed the vein of Picasso, and what made it unique was both the style and the fact that a woman was creating it. Lee Krasner’s style included creating collages that included contour drawing the outlined forms, using texturing of space and value that create a harmony as a whole that used a pattern of similar shapes. One of her most famous series, “Little Image” from the 40s which included hieroglyphic signs, that had a spidery aspect. On of the most famous painting from this collection is “Concha Mayor Domo.” This piece uses the medium of oil on canvas and as a series of yonic symbols that sometimes appear as both striking a conflict between each other and creating a harmony. The perspective of individual two-dimensional objects which over lap to create a unified background created from the foreground.
Concha is Spanish for shell, a symbol often used to represent feminine genitals. The affect on the viewer of “Concha Mayor Domo” is one of struggle, which ties into her mission as an artist and her place of . In Avant-Garde and Partisans Reviewed, Fred Orton details how she was constantly trying to define her own work and that it was a struggle for her own identity as an artist.
There is also a tribal nature to the drawings, that harkens back to traditional tribal symbols, and even seems to have a cave drawing feel. The colors, are also African and have the same colors used in the Kenyan national flag, that are employed in many flags across the region.
Oron says that she saw something in Pollock’s work, which she wanted to be close to. He suspects this was due to her own maturity as an abstract painter, she wanted to be close to those who were as developed. Indicative of her importance in the abstract movement was how the Museum of Modern Art, an internationally renowned institution, commemorated her Lee Krasner’s legacy. They did something that only four other artists have had the posthumous honor of, they exhibited a retrospective collection of her work. The New York Times article on the event thought that it showered her place in “The New York School” She had become a major artist.
Her work was pioneering work that led to the first women in an all-male club of abstract expressionism. “Concha Mayor Domo” is iconic both of this movement and an important work of visual art that is still being studied today.
Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed By Fred Orton
Kranser, Lee “Concha Mayor Domo” 1940. Oil on canvass.
JOHNSON, KEN. "ART REVIEW; Seeking a Constant in the Many Styles of Lee Krasner - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.