Lena(Lee) Krasner is probably most commonly known as the wife of Jackson Pollock. However, she deserves her own recognition as a female icon in the world of Abstract Expressionism. Born in the United States in 1908 just a few weeks after arriving with her mother and siblings from Russia to meet up with their father. The family hoped for a life of opportunity in America after leaving a lot of unrest in their native land. Lena was one of 5 children and she loved her father dearly. Early on she became enamored by the tales he would tell that combined a sense of magic and beauty with elements of the unknown and scary. Krasner carried a fear of the dark into adulthood that stemmed from a dream in early childhood. She also developed a strong bond with nature during the time her family lived in rural East New York. There's a rich fabric to her life story. It's hard to edit! Krasner was quite radical and outspoken as an individual from the get go in my view. And somewhat fearless as well which I think helps as an artist. Krasner's parents supported Lee's educational goals provided she made no demands on them. She was accepted to Cooper Union where her gifts were recognized early on. Later on as she moved into larger art circles she edited her name from Lena to Lee, in part for the ambiguity in gender. It was a constant challenge to be recognized on the same level as many of her male peers even though she exhibited with the likes of Piet Mondrian and Fernand Leger.
Ms. Krasner was very involved in political aspects of the art world as were her colleagues. There were on going challenges for artists and she was an active advocate for artists rights.
The paintings I selected to share were produced after the death of Jackson Pollock (her husband). Krasner had often put her work on the back burner to support Jackson on all fronts and was integral in his success. One critic noted these works to be "...most mature and personal, as well as joyous and positive to date -- done during a period of profound sorrow for the artist." B.H.Friedman I like these pieces because they are different yet have a cohesive quality. In learning more about Krasner's history I see aspects of her experience with nature and elements of the darkness she feared. Perhaps fear of darkness is really fear of light? Nature needs both - so is that an abstract expression?