Marion Carry, director of the Art Association school from 1946-1987, is one of the standouts of the show. She is represented by a series of portrait head drawings from about 1930 which boast a sturdy realism, somewhat reminiscent of the American Regionalists or Norman Rockwell. And then there's her great 1950s painting Looking Toward Sachuest Point. It depicts a spit of land snaking toward ocean and darkening sky. The expanse is abstracted and distilled into scraped-on layers of greens, pinks, baby blues, and grays applied with a seeming speed that energizes the composition. The painting's style is poised between American Impressionism and '50s San Francisco Bay Area painters like Richard Diebenkorn, who were applying the techniques of New York School abstract expressionism to realist imagery (though it's likely Carry was unaware of the California painting since it still remains not well known).

ART_WrightBever_main
SPARE RENDERING Wright's Beaver Tail Light.

"Remembering the Ladies" is an important and compelling show, but the art is more promise than payoff. It leaves you wondering what these artists might have achieved if their opportunities weren't limited by the fact that they were women in a male-dominated society and located off the art world's beaten path in Newport. Maud Howe Elliott wrote of Carry in her diary in 1933, "I have great hope of Marion's talents, but feel this town a hopeless place for her, or any ambitious young person, to make progress that is dependent upon outward circumstances."

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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