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Iconoclastic Fervor

Sally Hazelet Drummond's Road to Abstraction

Hillary Sullivan

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Sally Hazelet Drummond is believed to be the first female graduate of the Hite Art Institute with a masters in painting in 1952. It was during her study at the University of Louisville that she further explored Abstract Expressionism, a style that started only a decade earlier in the 1940s. In 1953 Drummond, a second-generation abstract expressionist, joined the epicenter of the movement as a member of the Tanager Gallery, one of the leading Tenth Street artists’ co-ops. In the midst of figures such as De Kooning, Reinhardt and Rothko, Drummond refined her style into the ­­­­dotted starburst patterns that she continued to develop over the course of her life. While Drummond has been described in several genres, ranging from neo-pointillism to op-art, her work and the exhibition itself is firmly rooted in abstract expressionism. Drummond herself described the movement as a kind of iconoclastic fervor. While history has remembered Abstract Expressionism as being a definitive style characterized largely by wall sized canvases swabbed with gestural marks of the artists, contemporary writers provide a much larger perspective that typifies the avant-gardism of the movement. Drummond’s artistic career from her Tanager days to date has been a deepening study into her understanding of abstract expressionist practice. However, as the oeuvre of her work has demonstrated, her explorations into abstraction proffer a different albeit not unfounded view of the art movement. Drummond’s views on spirituality and community serve as a foil to much of the machismo and individualist psychology of the abstract expressionist artists. Additionally, Drummond’s use of easel scale, unrestrained use of color and deliberate art making process offer a reframing of the accepted tenants of abstract expressionism. Drummond’s art and her journey into abstraction is also deserving of the self-same description, an iconoclastic fervor. The exhibition of her art, ranging from the 1940s until 2010, is on display in Gallery X at the Schneider Hall Galleries from November 19th until December 18th, 2015. An accompanying catalogue, Iconoclastic Fervor: Sally Hazelet Drummond’s Road to Abstraction, is also available for purchase from John Clark at Old Stone Press at (502) 693-1506,

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Buddhism, Expressionism, Abstract