Kindred Spirits celebrates Louise Nevelson and Dorothy Hood, independent women ardently committed to assuming leading roles at the forefront of the American vanguard. Coming of age as artists in the 1940s—Nevelson in New York, and Hood in Mexico and Texas—they frequently drew inspiration from common sources, balancing abstraction and content as they synthesized the lessons of Cubism and Surrealism into the bold, new language of mid-century Modernism.
Although no documentation survives of the two artists meeting, Nevelson (1899–1988) and Hood (1918–2000) celebrated career milestones in Houston within a year of one another. In 1969 the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, mounted a major survey of Nevelson’s work, which filled the soaring space of Cullinan Hall with columns, reliefs, and the magisterial Mirror Image I, now in the MFAH collection. At that time Hood was on the faculty of the MFAH Museum School housed in the same building, and she would have been keenly aware of Nevelson’s achievement. In 1970, Hood issued her own authoritative statement with an exhibition of recent paintings organized by Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum. Hood introduced her most monumental paintings to date, canvases that embodied her ambitions to balance the physical fact of painting with the unlimited realm of perception and the subconscious.
In the decades that followed, Nevelson and Hood found common ground in their dramatic layering of shallow space, in their poetic evocations of the physical and psychological landscapes of their era, and in the confident freedom of their late works. The two artists have been featured in group surveys, but this exhibition is the first to focus on their kindred spirits and mutual achievements.