Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

William Bryan Rooney

When Woody Shimko travels from Provincetown, Mass., to Palm Springs, he packs up more items than just a few extra T-shirts: He packs up works of art.

He owns galleries on both coasts, and he hauls a large collection of art that is melded into one show, linking artists that work 3,000 miles apart.

The Woodman/Shimko Gallery, at 1105 N. Palm Canyon Drive in the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs, features work by both artists local/regional and from his gallery in Provincetown. The broad collection offers an eclectic mix of contemporary, modern and realistic paintings and photographs that are a perfect fit for the modernism of Palm Springs.

Shimko opened the gallery in January 2013. Contemporary artists such as Richard Ransier from Los Angeles, Roger Allen Mosser and Austin Calloway from Palm Springs, and Cassandra Complex, Christopher Sousa, Chet Jones and Larry Collins from Provincetown have shown work there. Beyond the paintings, sculptures and ceramic art works, there are tables designed and built by Shimko, made from industrial materials, with antique Japanese shoji screens. Woody Shimko’s partner, Ray Nocera, help set up the gallery so Shimko would have a place to show his coffee tables that he designs and creates.

“The (slogan) for the gallery is ‘Provincetown to Palm Springs: 3,000 Miles of Art,’ said Shimko. “It was started five years ago, and it showcases the work of artists from both coasts. For years, I was the visual director at companies such as Bergdorf Goodman, Armani and Tiffany. Then after working 15 years for a design company in Tokyo, I came back and realized that after collecting art for so many years, perhaps it was the thing to do to open a gallery and showcase artists that I admire.”

November’s shows include Palm Springs artist Hank Hudson, an award-winning magazine art director, designer and photographer who is the former art director of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. He was also art director for Cosmopolitan magazine and Glamour magazine, and was the design director of TIME magazine’s Style and Design special issues.

Also highlighted will be Provincetown artist Cassandra Complex. “My art is a meditation on, as well as an attempt to capture, the moment when a complex inner life meets the unyielding outside world,” she says in an artist’s statement. “It is at this instance when the character of my subjects is truly revealed. The landscape of the face is capable of revealing, to the viewer, all the truths that have ever been known. Each subject reveals themselves, in as much as what they refrain from, as they do in the most overt of expressions. In my work, I wish to expose the internal life: that secret life that lives within us all.”

Artists including Gabe Fernandez, Chris Lopez and Gregg Ross will be featured as well.

The gallery in the past has shown the works of local and non-local photographers Jeff Palmer, Ronald David Erskine and Terry Hastings, all from Palm Springs; and Eileen Counihan and Bobby Miller of Provincetown. A selection of sculptures at the gallery includes works by ceramic artist Paul Bellardo, metal artist Terry Hastings and local bronze artist James Messana.

The Woodman-Shimko Gallery is located at 1105 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. For more information, including hours, call 760-322-1230. The gallery’s website is

Imagine if what you did every day for work was constantly being judged and juried. Unless you were a criminal on trial, it might feel unnatural.

But for an artist, being judged and juried can be a welcome experience. That is why more than 300 artists submitted their original works for consideration for the 2017 Artists Council Exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum, which will be on display from Saturday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 10.

The Artists Council is a group that supports and nurtures artists by providing them with exhibitions and networking opportunities. Its membership includes 350 local and regional artists and art patrons, as well as members of the general public who want to engage with the local art scene. The council also produces workshops for adults to learn and enhance their own artistic skills.

The Artists Council Exhibition was created by its members and is held annually in the fall. Now in its 48th year, the exhibit includes works by more than 40 Artists Council members. All of the work is for sale, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to support the Palm Springs Art Museum. A color catalog with images of all the artwork will also be for sale.

Daniel Hogan is the Education Department and Artists Council coordinator at the Palm Springs Art Museum. “There is always great art in this exhibition,” he said. “There are always some great buys at this exhibition, as some of the exhibiting artists are up-and-coming and still making a name for themselves.”

Did Hogan find surprises in any of this year’s art?

“There are always surprises with art that asks questions,” he mysteriously responded.

A team of jurors is curating the exhibition, including Lita Albuquerque, an internationally renowned installation and environmental artist, painter and sculptor. She is part of the Light and Space movement and is known for her pigment pieces created for desert sites. She is also a member of the faculty of the Fine Art Graduate Program at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. Joining Albuquerque is David Pagel, an art critic, curator and professor of art theory and history in the Claremont Graduate University Art Department; he writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times. Also on the jury is Rick Royale, owner of Royale Projects, a contemporary art gallery located in Los Angeles’ downtown arts district.

These jurors will announce the winners at a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 5:45 p.m. The program is open to the public, and will be held in the museum’s Annenberg Theater, followed by a reception in the museum’s atrium.

The Artists Council also offers free workshops for members at the Palm Springs Art Museum. This season, the council has scheduled four experimental hands-on workshops. One is entitled “Printing With Shadows.” There will also be four “The Business of Art” workshops with topics like “Getting Your Art Online,” “How to Write Your CV” and “How to Price Your Art for Sale.” Finally, the museum will hold life-drawing sessions with live models, as well as critique workshops, during which members are invited to bring up to three of their art works.

For more information, e-mail Daniel Hogan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or go to

The 2017 Artists Council Exhibition takes place from Saturday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission costs vary. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit Below: “All That Jazz” by Cathy Pitts, oil on canvas.

Collectors Steve Purdy and Mark Bloom have a passion for discarded art, and have been doing shows called Tales From the Trash, where the works of art are cheap and often have humorous titles that give new perspectives to these … uh, unique works.

The recently opened La Matadora Gallery will be hosting a one-night-only exhibition on Saturday, Sept. 23. I spoke with Bloom while he was in the area to rummage for more treasures at a Yucca Valley swap meet.

How did Tales From the Trash get started?

Going to thrift stores, yard sales, swap meets and all of that stuff is something I’ve always loved doing. I’m attracted to artwork that I find interesting, in any way shape or form, that is almost always done by someone completely anonymous. I just started buying these paintings for myself until I met another guy in Tucson, Ariz., who had a similar habit. He did a show in Tucson about 12 years ago where he took some of his paintings and hung them in a space, in a house, for one night, and he called it Tales From the Trash. He had no intention of selling them. He did it just for fun, and he had given them titles that were wonderfully appropriate. A couple of years later, I bumped into him and said, “Remember that show you did with the trashy art? I’ve got a ton of this stuff in my house. We need to do a show together.”

So you did a combined show with his collection and your collection?

We basically did. We found a space in downtown Tucson that would have us. We had a one-night show. We probably had about 150 or so paintings between the two of us; we just threw them up on the wall, in no particular order. If it fits in a space, it goes there.

It was an amazingly great time, For me, it’s so much fun finding this stuff, sharing it with a load of people and watching their reactions. Everyone had a really good time. People came to the show really not knowing what the heck it was. It was just a bunch of random paintings put together. It’s all for sale at really not much more than we paid for it. People came to hang out, have some fun and buy some random art. That’s how it all started.

You decided this had to be a regular thing?

The first thing I said afterward was, “That was way too much fun. I don’t want to wait another year to do that again.” I found a place in Bisbee, Ariz., to do it, and it was a huge hit again. At last year’s Tucson show, we had a line to the end of the block.

When did this all begin?

In 2014. Basically, we now do a fall show in Tucson and a spring show in Bisbee. … People come up to me and tell me that it was so much fun. … We’re not mocking the art, but it’s so wonderfully bad.

Would you ever consider having some of your work in a permanent space?

We actually do: It’s in a bathroom in a restaurant in Bisbee. It’s called the “Loovre.” It’s got as much art as we could fit in there.

Have your tastes changed since you started curating this kind of art?

Yes, they have. We’ve both realized that we’re getting better stuff. What I’m getting now is quite different: It needs to have an “it” factor to it. You can take it home and regret it later. When you do sober up the next morning and wonder, “What on Earth did I do last night?” (remember that) it didn’t cost you much. This is a complete smorgasbord of tasteless, tasteful—all kinds of stuff. It doesn’t matter what your personal preferences may be, and there’s no disrespect to any artist, because people have accused us of disrespecting art: “Why are you calling the art trash?” We’re not; we’re calling it from the trash. That’s the term we use to describe where we find it.

Have you ever met one of the original artists?

At our show in Bisbee, an older gentleman was there (who had three of his paintings in the show). His wife was very upset, because she thought we were mocking him, but he totally understood it, and he loved it, and has been to every show since. He actually ended up doing a painting for me, which is now part of my collection.

What are your expectations for the show in Joshua Tree?

It will appeal to anybody. It doesn’t matter what you like; I’ve got something that you’ll love. I would like people to come to this gallery and enjoy themselves for a night. Get here early, because stuff flies off the walls.

Tales From the Trash will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, at La Matadora Gallery, 61857 Highway 62, in Joshua Tree. Admission is free. For more information, visit

The natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park has inspired people from all over the world to transform their visions of the park into art—and the goal of the fifth annual Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition is to show off some of this amazing work.

This year, six artists (actually, seven; two work as a pair) from the Coachella Valley are among the 63 chosen to have their work displayed throughout September as part of the exhibit at the 29 Palms Art Gallery. A panel had to choose among 290 pieces submitted by 120 artists from the United States and beyond. The rules required that the artwork depict or be inspired by Joshua Tree National Park. Only one piece from each of the 63 artists will be displayed, with winners being honored at an awards reception at the gallery on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. Works include oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, mixed media, photography, ceramics, assemblage and metal sculptures.

Many of the artists will also participate in the Art Market on the lawn at the 29 Palms Inn during the Art Exposition weekend celebration, on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16 and 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature live music, food and beverages, art demonstrations, a mural project, ranger talks and nature walks. All events are free and open to the public.

“Each year, we are amazed at the quantity and quality of artwork submitted,” said Vickie Waite, the artist liaison and executive assistant for the Joshua Tree National Park Council for the Arts. “We are honored that these artists have chosen to share their vision and their artwork with us and to participate in this event celebrating our national park. It just keeps getting better every year.”

The participating artists from the Coachella Valley are as diverse as the works in the show itself.

Hunter Johnson, from Palm Springs, aims at preserving the past through photography. His photographs have been featured in galleries and museums across the country, including the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Robert Miramontes, from Desert Hot Springs, is a California native and has spent nearly his entire life photographing Joshua Tree National Park. He has accumulated more than 25 years of Joshua Tree National Park photography into seven books.

Andrea Raft and Aaron Sedway, from Indio, are a mother and son passionate about recording the natural world. Andrea is a Coachella Valley mixed-media artist, and Aaron is a sports and nature photographer. They combine their work of photography and mixed-media painting, and are currently showing their work at Coda Gallery in Palm Desert.

Doug Shoemaker, from Palm Springs, was selected as artist-in-residence at Joshua Tree National Park in 2014. “My interest and focus as a realist painter, using the medium of watercolor, is to explore various elements that can be seen as ‘ordinary and uneventful,’ but full of richness, complexity, and beauty,” he said.

Martha Villegas, from Cathedral City, grew up in Mexico and studied art in Casa de la Cultura in Mexicali, and continued art studies at the Universidad de Baja California. “The use of vibrant, saturated color on my paintings is a representation of what I consider life in its full expression.” She teaches and is a member of the Artists Council of Palm Springs Art Museum.

Ehrick Wright, from Rancho Mirage, does work that includes paintings, drawings and pastels inspired by the bizarre landscape of rocks, hills and canyons found in Joshua Tree National Park.

The Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition is presented throughout September by the Joshua Tree National Park Council for the Arts, in partnership with the 29 Palms Art Gallery. For more information, visit Below: "During the Storm" by Doug Shoemaker.

Many of the Coachella Valley’s larger art galleries tend to hibernate during the summer heat. The (relative) exodus of tourists provides time for them to prepare new exhibitions for the fall.

But the need to experience art doesn’t go on vacation—and this time of year provides art-lovers with a great opportunity to shift focus and find art in public settings and smaller venues that promote local talent.

In Palm Springs, the “Lucy Ricardo” sculpture by Emmanuil Snitkovsky sits on a bench near the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at 211 S. Palm Canyon Drive, while the “Rainmaker” sculpture by David Morris inspires in Frances Stevens Park at 500 N. Palm Canyon Drive. There are also impressive works called “Monsieur Pompadour” and “Mademoiselle Coco” by Karen and Tony Barone greeting people at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave.

In Palm Desert, you can stroll through four acres of the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert (72567 Highway 111), while the Rancho Mirage Public Library often features exhibitions by local artists and photographers. The “Coachella Walls” mural resides on the side of a downtown building in Coachella and is accompanied by other murals on buildings opposite Dateland Park.

La Quinta has numerous works of art surrounding the Civic Center Campus. In Indio, you can find the “History of Water in the Coachella Valley,” a massive painting by Don Gray, on the south wall of the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St. Each of these cities has maps that will guide you to the various works of art throughout their communities on their websites.

You can pop in and find original art in various hotel lobbies, like the knotted macramé rope curtain, woven from 1.5 miles of cotton rope by Michael Schmidt, at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. “A Day in the Life at Saguaro,” by local artist Sarah Scheideman, features dioramas of Barbie dolls at The Saguaro.

Back in Palm Springs, retail favorite Just Fabulous, at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive, has works by numerous artists displayed on the walls. Smaller galleries like Gallery500, located inside The Five Hundred building, 500 S. Palm Canyon Drive, provide a showcase for emerging artists like Christopher Williams.

“I got into Gallery500 through the Desert AIDS Project. They have a program that helps to find venues and create opportunities,” Williams said. “Responses to my art have been good—a lot of positive feedback. Because of showing at Gallery500, I feel more positive about my work, and I even sold a couple of pieces there.”

The point: Art is everywhere in the Coachella Valley, and it often doesn’t require an admission ticket.

Not all of the big galleries and museums close their doors during the summer. The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission every Thursday throughout the summer from noon to 8 p.m. The museum’s Annenberg Theater will show a free film, Paris, Texas, at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

One of the best things that can happen when you experience art is to be surprised. It’s the artist’s job to transcend expectations and push you in new directions of thought and emotion.

You don’t need to have any prerequisite art knowledge for this to happen; however, you must trust that those who choose to present their art have something to say. You can end up enlightened or repulsed—but if you are genuinely surprised, you may find out more about yourself through the art.

This may very well happen at Pat Lasch: Journeys of the Heart, now on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, The Galen. This is her first major exhibition, covering 43 years as an artist, and the intense biographical thread of feminist-driven art sculptures becomes more than the cakes and dresses you may have seen in photographs. Lasch’s work, in fine detail, covers the “passages” of life, from birth to expiration, with a passion rooted in a deep spirituality.

Since the 1970s, Lasch has been making intricate sculptures resembling confections using acrylic paint, wood, paper and other things, as well as life-sized dresses which follow significant moments in a woman’s lifetime—made of piped paint lace and other materials. She was one of the first members of the A.I.R. Gallery women’s collective in New York City. The daughter of a German pastry chef and a seamstress, Lasch learned from her father that “if you make a mistake, put a rose on it.”

As a viewer, it would be a mistake not to appreciate the details of her work.

“The decorative ways in which she uses her media, from paint and paper to bronze, are interwoven with her spectacularly labor-intensive working methods,” said Mara Gladstone, associate curator for the exhibit. “Pat embraces emotion and beauty in her work, and there is power in that.”

At the center of the exhibit is “A Life Blessed,” five pieces that represent the passages of a woman: birth, coming of age (via a communion dress), marriage (a wedding dress), an anniversary (a golden egg sculpture) and death (a shroud). The sculpture “The Egg Handler” depicts a woman dipping her arm into a collection of eggs, suggesting the nurturing of life.

Even more striking are the “death” cakes—sculptures decorated with studded pins and drenched in black-paint icing. For Lasch, “cakes mark time.”

“Why not a cake for death? It’s one of our last and most important transitions,” Lasch said. She once brought one of the black cakes to an exhibition following the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. She was quoted then as saying: “I’ve always been interested in death. I want to know what that transition is about. But I’m also interested in union and marriage. The crucial question for me as an artist is, ‘Who am I? Where am I from?’”

One particularly difficult transition for Lasch occurred recently, when she requested a cake she was commissioned to make for the New York MoMA 50th anniversary in 1979—only to find that the museum had discarded it when the museum was cleaning out its storage facilities. A museum representative acknowledged the mistake with an email: “Please accept my sincere apologies as well as my very best wishes for the success of your show in Palm Springs.” Some might say that really takes the cake.

Lasch lives part-time in Rancho Mirage, as well as New York. To commemorate the exhibition, the artist has created limited-edition mini-cake sculptures that are available for purchase at The Galen. An illustrated color catalog accompanies the exhibition, with limited-edition copies available.

Pat Lasch: Journeys of the Heart exhibit runs through Sunday, Oct. 15, at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, The Galen, at 72567 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-346-5600, or visit

The Backstreet Art District, tucked away against the mountains off East Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, may be hard to find, but once you make the discovery, you will encounter a diverse collection of galleries where you can meet artists, wander through working studios—and possibly find that perfect piece of art.

The various galleries on Cherokee Way have their own hours and showing times, but they all come together to hold an Art Walk on the first Wednesday of every month, from 6 to 9 p.m., bringing together artists, gallery owners and prospective patrons.

Kelly Truscott, from Artize Gallery, explained how this collective got started.

“Backstreet was born by accident in the year 2000, when three artists had left their door unlocked one day, which resulted in people coming into their space,” she said. After meeting the artists and getting the backstory behind the art, these intruders bought some pieces. This chance occurrence launched the location as an art district—a place where a diverse collection of art and artists can be found off the beaten path. The available spaces are leased only as artists’ work spaces and galleries. If a gallery or art business leaves, another art gallery will take its place.

Annette Marie, a painter and jewelry designer at Studio 13, has been at Backstreet for 11 years. “There is constant change here rather than growth,” she said. “It started out and remains an intimate group of artists.”

Melanie Brenner is a gallerist at the newest member of Backstreet, Rebel Art Space. She emphasizes the diversity and evolution that is at the heart of the district.

“The art changes here every month,” she said. “We’re not curators; we are here to sell art.”

Rebel Art Space is a collaboration between Brenner and two friends who share a Southern heritage and a desire for emerging artists to be exposed to the “burgeoning art world of the Coachella Valley.”

At the Tom Ross Gallery, you’ll find works by the artist known as Rosenberg, who moved to Palm Springs in September 2016 after 25 years in Santa Fe, N.M. Rosenberg works with large-scale paintings on clear acrylic panels, using a process known as reverse painting.

“With this technique, there is always an element of surprise,” said Rosenberg, aka Tom Ross. The work is a visual adventure, often surprising the artist himself with the direction of the final piece.

Fusion Art was started by award-winning artist Chris Hoffman to “promote and connect emerging and established artists with collectors and art enthusiasts.” Originally started as an online gallery, it opened as a physical gallery at the Backstreet Art District in May 2016. “We are fully committed to exposing new artists to Palm Springs on a regular basis,” he said. “We’ll be here doing this every first Wednesday—even in July and August”.

Other worthy galleries include the David A. Clark Studio, featuring a namesake who teaches encaustic printmaking across the United States and in Europe; and Maxson Art Studio and Gallery, featuring the paintings and ceramic art of Palm Desert artist Linda Maxson.

One notable thing about the Backstreet Art District is the wide range of prices—including a lot of great, affordable, original art. Many galleries connect the artist to the buyer in a way that is both personal and immediate.

The Backstreet Art District is located on Cherokee Way behind the Mercedes Benz dealership. The city has even provided a directional road sign now, so there is no longer an excuse not to stop by and open an unlocked door.

The next Backstreet Art District Art Walk will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 7. For more information, visit

Whenever a family of artists works collectively, it’s natural to both be intrigued by individual works, and curious about the sum of their creative endeavors. When the family’s works are gathered together in one place, the art can be put into perspective—even if that perspective is shaped by one’s personal taste in art.

If you find yourself at the end of an El Paseo shopping spree or dining adventure, it would be well worth your while to wander into Heather James Fine Art to visit the intriguing exhibit Art of the Wyeth Family, which will be on display through June.

The exhibit features artwork by N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) and his many talented family members and descendants, spanning three generations. Included are works by N.C. Wyeth’s children Henriette, Carolyn, Ann and Andrew (a National Medal of Arts winner who, in 2011-2012, was the subject of a retrospective at the Palm Springs Art Museum). Also included are works by son-in-law John McCoy; grandchildren Jamie Wyeth and Maude Robin McCoy; and grandniece Anna B. McCoy—all celebrated American painters on their own. It may be worth taking your family and pointing out what a family can do when they work together—but again, that is a matter of taste.

The family story includes the insistence by patriarch N.C. Wyeth that his children learn the traditional aspects of creating, while emphasizing the importance of observing the natural world and expressing their place in it. The Wyeth family’s roots are on the East Coast, mostly in Maine and Pennsylvania, and naturalistic representations of the landscape, wildlife and area inhabitants are prevalent and were passed down through the generations. There is a century of time between the earliest painting in this exhibition and the artists who are still at work today.

Gallery consultant Hayden Hunt said N.C. Wyeth’s work is similar in style to that of Norman Rockwell.

“This exhibit is unique to the Coachella Valley in that it is different from the Western influences normally represented,” he said. “The art included is a unique look at the character who guided his family into the world of painting.”

N.C. Wyeth is known mostly for his illustrations for novels (Treasure Island, The Last of the Mohicans, Robinson Crusoe) and magazine covers (The Saturday Evening Post), but he also created posters, calendars and advertisements for clients such as Lucky Strike, Cream of Wheat and Coca-Cola. He painted murals for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the First National Bank of Boston and other buildings, both public and private.

Later in life, he insisted that he was “trapped” by the commercial work, and never attained the personal satisfaction or public recognition that he sought for his art. Therefore, it was up to his family to carry on and create the legacy that is now on display. He fostered “friendly competition” between his children, and brought in his daughter’s suitor, John McCoy, to raise the stakes.

Notable works in Art of the Wyeth Family include “Once the Girl Started Through the Yard as Though She Would Rush After Them and Stopped at the Gate” by N.C. Wyeth; it’s a work of subtle simplicity with a complex title. The portrait “Anna B.” by Henriette Wyeth and the stark “Red Tail Hawk” by Jamie Wyeth also draw one’s attention.

Art of the Wyeth Family is on display through June at Heather James Fine Art, 45188 Portola Ave., in Palm Desert. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 760-346-8926, or visit

You are in an art gallery, taking in all the intricacies of a certain painting, when you overhear someone say: “My 4-year old could do that.”

It’s that kind of broad-stroke dismissal that many women painters in the 1940s and 1950s experienced in the art world.

Although many women had thriving art careers at that time, they were never taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Today, the exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism, at the Palm Springs Art Museum through May 28, shows just how influential the works of these artists was and is.

The exhibit contains more than 50 major paintings by 12 artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 20th century, an era recognized as the first fully American modern-art movement. Curated by Gwen Chanzit of the Denver Art Museum, it’s the only exhibition to present works by these artists together.

Chanzit told artnet News, “Except for a very small number of scholars who have spent their lives working in this field, there will be people you haven’t heard of (in this exhibit).”

In preparation for the exhibition, Chanzit looked at the work of more than 100 women, about 40 of whom she says would have been a good fit for the final show. “This is not about pushing a feminist agenda; it’s about taking another look,” Chanzit added.

Artists included in this exhibit are from opposite sides of the spectrum—the New York and San Francisco art scenes. They were all expressing the struggle between self-expression and the unconscious in their work, and were inspired by personal experience, expressed despite the exclusion they faced.

Mary Lee Abbott, a direct ancestor of John Adams, formed a friendship with Willem de Kooning, who was a major influence in her artistic development. She later joined the infamous “Downtown Group,” founded by a group of artists who lived in lower Manhattan.

Jay DeFeo dealt with abstract expressionism, surrealism and spirituality and became a pivotal figure in the historic San Francisco community of artists, poets and jazz musicians.

Elaine de Kooning, an editorial associate for Art News magazine and wife of Willem de Kooning, signed her artworks with her initials instead of her full name to avoid her paintings being labeled as “feminine” or having them confused with her husband’s work.

Perle Fine was one of the few female painters invited to join the 8th Street Artists’ Club by Willem de Kooning (yes, there is a pattern here) and later in her career specialized in bas-relief paintings and grids.

Helen Frankenthaler was inspired by the works of Jackson Pollock and then developed her own revolutionary technique of stain painting. She is also known for introducing a newer generation to a form of abstract painting that came to be known as Color Field.

Sonia Gechtoff is a social realist painter who credits her early success to other female artists her mother managed in San Francisco art galleries.

Judith Godwin was inspired by the modern dance movement, expressed by her broad, corporeal gestures, arcs and angles in her work.

Grace Hartigan, a close friend of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, is known for a series of gestural abstractions. When once asked if a male artist ever told her she painted like a man, Hartigan replied, “Not twice.”

Lee Krasner worked with the Public Works of Art Project and in the mural division of the Federal Art Project/Works Progress Administration during the mid-1930s. She was married to Jackson Pollock and is one of the few female artists to have had a retrospective show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. “I’m always going to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock—that’s a matter of fact—but I painted before Pollock, during Pollock, after Pollock,” she said.

Joan Mitchell, a member of the “second generation” of American abstract expressionists, formed friendships with poet Frank O’Hara and Grace Hartigan and referred to her own work as “very violent and angry.”

Deborah Remington belonged to the Beat scene in San Francisco and was the only female founder of the Six Gallery, where Allen Ginsberg first read his incendiary Howl in public.

Ethel Schwabacher’s paintings were influenced by psychoanalysis and Freudian theory, and reveal the influence of Gorky and Surrealism in her work.

This exhibit displays the influences of this movement, from Tolstoy (Gechtoff), to Rimbaud (Krasner) to modern-dance innovator Martha Graham (Goodwin). “The King Is Dead” by Hartigan is about Pablo Picasso and strives to make a larger point. The works by Helen Frankenthaler range from showing the influence of Pollock to her own breakthrough in Western Style in her later works.

Krasner’s “Cornucopia” was inspired by nature and expressed by the arabesques that come from the physical movement of her whole arm, not just the hands and wrist. Jay Defeo’s “Incision” contains waves of oil paint that feel as if one could climb onto the composition—as if it were a force of nature. Remington’s “Apropos” displays bold areas of scarlet intertwined with serpentine areas of green and black.

Walking around these paintings, ranging from the large canvases to smaller scale statements, is like walking through a garden in a dreamscape. Do not miss this show.

Women of Abstract Expressionism is on display through Sunday, May 28, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, in Palm Springs. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday through Tuesday; and noon to 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday. Admission is $12.50, with discounts and various free days. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit