MA Thesis Exhibition • Iconoclastic Fervor: Sally Hazelet Drummond's Road to Abstraction

The University of Louisville Hite Art Institute is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Master’s candidate in the Critical and Curatorial Studies program - Hillary Sullivan. 

Sally Hazelet Drummond is the first female to graduate from the Hite Art Institute with a master’s degree in painting in 1952. During her study at the University of Louisville she explored Abstract Expressionism, which started in the mid 1940s and was characterized by gestural or color-field paintings. Abstract Expressionism became the first American style to become an international movement. In 1953 Drummond joined the epicenter of the movement in New York City as a member of the Tanager Gallery, one of the leading Tenth Street artists’ co-ops. In the midst of figures such as Willem De Kooning, Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko, Drummond refined her style into the ¬¬¬¬dotted starburst patterns that she continued to develop over the course of her life.

Drummond 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 or huge fields of color, reassessment today allows for a much larger perspective that typifies the avant-gardism of the movement. Drummond continued the iconoclasm of the early abstract expressionists by rejecting these methods of working and created her own definitive iteration.

Drummond’s artistic career from her graduate days to the present has been a deepening exploration into her personal understanding of abstract expressionist practice. 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 tenets of Abstract Expressionism. Drummond’s art and her journey into abstraction is also deserving of her description of the movement, an iconoclastic fervor.

Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Schneider Hall, Gallery X
2300 S. First Street Walk , Louisville, Kentucky, 40208

Event Type

Arts, Social, Alumni, Exhibit, Academic


Students, Faculty/staff, Alumni, Public


Arts & Sciences, Fine Arts, Hite Art Institute



Free and open to the public.

Contact Name

Renée K. Murphy

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