★★★★ By Eddy Frankel
The history of art is full of old dead white blokes. We’ve had centuries of western men dominating the stuff we put in our eyes. Modern and contemporary abstract art is no different – it’s all Kandinsky and Pollock and Rothko, as if a woman never picked up a paintbrush and did some squiggles on a canvas. But – guess what, bozos – they did. And this show of abstract art by women isn't just a powerful statement that women were there too, but that they were knocking up some of the best abstraction in the biz in the process. Just like Lee Krasner, an artist who is constantly relegated to a footnote in art history - she was Jackson Pollock's wife - but who with just one work here proves that her painting was probably just as vital as her husband's.
There is so much to like across the two Victoria Miro spaces. Over on Wharf Road it’s mainly recent abstraction. There’s the eye-bending warped op art of Loie Hollowell, the shocking fragility of Dala Nasser’s silver paper coated in druggy grime, the quiet elegance of Etel Adnan, the glossy cutesy sheen of Fiona Rae, Adriana Varejao’s gory slashed Fontana homage, a gorgeous pink and lilac Martha Jungwirth, a brutal Pat Steir, a great sloppy Gillian Ayres (who sadly just passed away).
Image: Installation view, Surface Work, Gallery I, Wharf Road
Left to right: Jessica Warboys, Sea Painting, Dunwich, 2014; Dala Nasser, It's Only A Party if You Sniff It, 2016; Lucy Dodd, Beyond Blind (1981 1⁄2), 2013
© the artists