The Common Threads Between Female Quilters and Abstract Expressionists

Installation view of Function to Freedom: Quilts and Abstract Expressions at Sara Kay Gallery, at left, Victoria Manganiello’s “El Trifinio” (2015)(all images by Adam Reich, courtesy Sara Kay Gallery unless otherwise noted)

Function to Freedom: Quilts and Abstract Expressions, an exhibition at the recently opened Sara Kay Gallery, elevates and celebrates artworks created by women across several mediums. The relatively small gallery space brims with 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century quilts, as well as Abstract Expressionist painting and sculpture. The result is a panoply of pattern and color.

Featuring 23 pieces, the show illuminates and emphasizes the compositional continuities among the works. It’s fascinating to discover the echoes of patchwork within the paintings and, conversely, hints of the quintessential fluidity of Abstract Expressionism woven into the quilts. Among the very first works one encounters in the show are Helen Frankenthaler’s

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