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Cora Kelley Ward: A Work in Progress - Monday, May 28, 2012

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Born in Eunice, LA, Cora Kelley Ward (1920-1989) lived the non-traditional life of an artist during the rise of New York City's artistic apex from the 1960s through 1980s. Ward's paintings illustrate the artist's process of working through contemporary artistic theories based on color and shape.

Ward studied painting at the Newcomb Art School at Tulane University before receiving a degree in Nursing and later a Master of Arts degree from Hunter College in New York City.

In the summers of 1949 and 1950, she attended Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. She studied under Josef Albers and attended two classes with art critic, Clement Greenberg who would become a life-long friend to Ward. Summers at Black Mountain College became a pivotal point in Ward's career influencing her art and life for many years. Numerous notable mid-century American artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, also spent time at Black Mountain College. Concepts of Modernism were disseminated through the teachings of European artists who taught at BMC and other schools when they fled Hitler's "purification” of German culture. Moving to New York City in 1955, Ward settled in Greenwich Village and pursued her love of art. Ward's work centered on the second generation of Abstract Expressionist ideologies which explored art at its most elemental core. Through her work, we see the struggles of an artist as she experiments with formalist concepts and finds her unique artistic voice.


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