From the Transcendental Painting Group to the Taos Moderns:
Florence Miller Pierce and Beatrice Mandelman
at the Addison Rowe Gallery
Santa Fe, NM— From the Transcendental Painting Group to the Taos Moderns: Florence Miller Pierce and Beatrice Mandelman, an exhibition highlighting American Modernists Florence Miller Pierce and Beatrice Mandelman will open at Addison Rowe Gallery (229 East Marcy Street) on Friday, September 30th, 2016 and the show will close on December 16th, 2016. Opening reception will be held on September 30th, 2016 from 5:00-7:00 PM.
Beatrice Mandelman (1912-1998) and Florence Miller Pierce (1918 – 2007) played very different roles in the New Mexico art scene. Pierce originally moved to Taos in 1935 to study with Emil Bisttram for a short time. She returned in 1938 to resume her studies. This was the same year that Raymond Jonson and Emil Bisttram founded the Transcendental Painting Group. Pierce became the youngest member and one of only two women in the group. Although she was an important member of the group, she did not become an influential figure in the New Mexico art scene until the late 1960s. Throughout the first half of her life, she quit making art for years at a time and did not find her individual voice as an artist until she was in her 40s. In her later years she became very well known in New Mexico and was awarded the Governor’s award for Excellence in the arts in 2003.
Beatrice Mandelman was determined to be an artist from a young age and almost never put down her paintbrush from her first art class at the age of 12 until her death at the age of 80. Although she and her husband, Louis Ribak, arrived in New Mexico 21 years after Pierce, their arrival sparked the formation of a new art collective that would come to be known as the Taos Moderns. Before moving to Taos in 1944, Mandelman was a WPA artist and was included in important exhibitions at the Chicago Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. She and Ribak moved to Taos in 1944 and founded the Taos Valley Art School 1947. This school attracted many Abstract Expressionist artists from both the East and West Coast and served as a meeting place for many of the artists who would become part of the Taos Moderns; eventually this group would include Mandelman, Ribak, Ed Corbett, Andrew Dasburg, Agnes Martin, Oli Sihvonen, Clay Spohn, John Depuy, Cady Wells, Thomas Benrimo, Ted Egri, and Louise Ganthers. Pierce and Mandelman were essential in creating a foundation for abstract artists to flourish in New Mexico. Without their contributions, the past 7 decades of art would look very different.