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Emily Mason | Air Mail

Emily Mason, I Heard The Corn, 1979, Oil on canvas, 54 x 52 inches, 137.2 x 132.1 cm

The New York artist Emily Mason, who died in 2019, was born into the art world in 1932. Her mother, Alice Trumbull, was an on-the-scene painter and a regular Eighth Club attendee in the 1940s and 50s. As an adolescent, Mason met the likes of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Mark Rothko when she attended social engagements at the club. Her occasional babysitter was Elaine de Kooning, who, along with Joan Mitchell, helped propel her toward a career in the arts. In 1979, Mason moved to a studio on 20th Street in Chelsea, where for over 40 years she experimented with analogous color theory. The paintings in this exhibition are radiant mid-career works, which see Mason using new oil types and solvents to play with opacity, translucency, and paint’s capacity for sentience. —E.C.