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Fantasy No. 2

Oil on canvas
58 x 50 1/2 inches
1964
Now on view: One Morgan Square, Spartanburg, South Carolina

As published in: Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection

As exhibited in:
Abstract Perspectives in Mid-Century Art, 2022–2023, The University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona

Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, 20182021, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina; Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia

A distinctive voice in American art, New Orleans native Ida Kohlmeyer experienced a “great awakening” after studying with Hans Hofmann and Mark Rothko. Yet, as a fervent individualist, she sought to disassociate from such apparent influences, a spell broken only when she began to incorporate the circle as a generative and narrative form. With this painting, like others of the period, Kohlmeyer introduces the pictographic vocabulary of crosses, clouds, grids, and vessels that would become her signature style in the 1970s. Painted during a transitional period in Kohlmeyer’s career, Fantasy No. 2 marks the moment when she left her position as a painting instructor at Newcomb College in 1964 and built a studio in her suburban Louisiana backyard.

 

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