Delaware Art Museum announces exhibition of Helen Mason and Margo Allman

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Delaware Art Museum announces exhibition of Helen Mason and Margo Allman
Margo Allman (born 1933), Landscape Forms II '68, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 60 × 70 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2016. © Margo Allman.

WILMINGTON, DE.- Scheduled for late March, the opening of Layered Abstraction: Helen Mason and Margo Allman was delayed due Covid-19 and the Museum’s subsequent closure. Now, with our recent reopening, Layered Abstraction is on view for the public.

For more than 50 years, Margo Allman and Helen Mason have challenged traditional expectations for contemporary art in the greater Wilmington area. The Delaware Art Museum celebrates these two pioneering artists with a Distinguished Artist Series retrospective in its premier exhibition gallery space through January 17, 2021.

Both Allman and Mason have dedicated their artistic careers to exploring the infinite possibilities of abstraction. Margo Allman’s work was first exhibited at the Museum during its 43rd Annual Delaware Show in 1956. Since then, Allman has participated in countless juried and curated shows at the Museum and throughout the region. Her prints, paintings, and sculptures, which are inspired by nature, bring form to the invisible. Layered Abstraction will feature more than 50 of Allman’s works of art, including her early 1950s avant-garde prints; her sculptures in marble, wood, concrete, and synthetic fiber from the 70s and 80s; her signature series of ovoidal paintings; and her graphic drawings dating from 2004 to 2019.

Helen Mason, who arrived in Delaware in 1967, has exhibited at the Delaware Art Museum and played an active role on the Delaware State Arts Council—all while teaching generations of students at the Tatnall School in Wilmington. Materiality is a consistent inspiration for Mason, as is Minimal art and the Japanese techniques of layering, bundling, gathering, knotting, and folding. Layered Abstraction will feature more than 80 works of art by Mason, including her jewelry, paintings, and ceramics from the 1970s through today, and selections from her 1988 Delaware Art Museum.

Margo Allman is an abstract artist who works in painting, printmaking, and sculpture. She attended Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia where she studied with the abstract expressionist artist Leonard Nelson. She also pursued further study with Hans Hofmann. Since 1954, Allman has participated in countless solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including at the Delaware Art Museum, the Biggs Museum of American Art, and the West Chester University Art Gallery. Her work is also featured in many regional collections, including the Delaware Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"My life in art and its driving preoccupation is to both explore and form my emotions, my yearnings and the mysteries of nature,” says Allman. “My never-ending goal is to enrich others with the quality of my true and unique talents."

Helen Mason received her MFA from the University of Delaware and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design/Brown University. Among her many honors are a National Endowment for the Arts/Delaware State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, a Gulbenkian Foundation Grant, and a Delaware Art Museum Purchase Award. She was appointed by the Governor to the Board of the Delaware State Arts Council serving two terms, served on the Board of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, and directed the Art Program as Chairman at the Tatnall School in Wilmington. Mason's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the American Craft Museum (MAD) in NY, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC, the Biggs Museum in DE, the Delaware Art Museum, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Vonderau Museum in Germany, Takashimya Gallery in Japan, and the Aaron Faber Gallery in NY. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Delaware Art Museum, the Hercules Powder Co in DE, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art in MI, and the High Museum.

"As a sculptor, I see myself constructing shapes that are self-contained, uncompromising, and singular, often thinking in different scales to explore an idea,” says Mason. “My inspiration is drawn from Minimalism and the stability and refinement of geometric forms. The color black is always a constant, incorporating a strong influence of the East, symbolizing mystery, serenity, and elegance. My motivation is a search for innovative ways to test convention, always with the desire to break the boundaries between art and craft."

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