Ida Lansky

1910Toronto, Canada | 1997Dallas, United States
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Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky by Irving Kiely

Canadian painter.

Ida Lansky was born in Canada and moved to New York in 1928. After studying at New York University, Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, and Cornell University, she graduated in public-health nursing. Lansky then settled in Texas, where she spent five years studying under the Visual Art Studies Program at Texas Woman’s University in Denton (1954–9). There she specialized in photography, taught by Carlotta Corpron. Corpron, who followed the teaching theories of László Moholy-Nagy and György Kepes, encouraged her students to look at light as a raw material and called for an experimental approach to the medium (by using, for instance, photograms, distortion, solarization, and photomontage). Influenced also by the works of Andreas Feininger and Heinz Hajek-Halke, Lansky created images in which the subject is secondary. Although a few of her works remained to some extent figurative – thanks at times to the titles, it could still be possible to discern a glazed bay window, reflections of the sea, sculpted objects, and architectural features – she generally opted for abstraction.
Her chief interest was in the interplay of light and shade. This is particularly clear in her series of photomontages and photograms, images produced without using a camera, in which she built up compositions by placing objects (from clothes pegs to asbestos dust) on photosensitive paper.

She also produced several striking photographs by reticulating the photographic emulsion while developing the image. After she completed her university studies in 1959, the Gateway Gallery in San Francisco held a solo exhibition of her work, entitled Camera Abstractions by Ida Lansky. That same year, she also took part in the exhibition Photographer’s Choice organized by the photographer Henry Holmes Smith at the Art Center Gallery of Indiana State University. Here, Lansky’s experimental work was shown alongside photographs by Corpron, Minor White, Clarence John Laughlin, Ansel Adams, Frederick Sommer, Harry Callahan, Van Deren Coke, and other major photographers of the time. Her final exhibition was held in 1960, at the Black Tulip Gallery in Dallas (Photographs by Ida Lansky). She then gave up photography and began to study librarianship at Texas Woman’s University. Although her photographic career was so brief, her photographic abstractions have been considered sufficiently important to be kept in several American and European private collections, and in public institutions such as the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, Texas), the El Paso Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library.

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Julie Jones

Translated from French by Thames & Hudson.

As published in Women in Abstraction © 2021 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Untitled, c. 1950, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas

Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Marble Waters, c. 1950, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas

Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Filgree, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas

Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Experimental Series, page 25, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy PDPhotographs Do Not Bend GalleryNB, Dallas

Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Untitled, c. 1950, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas

Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Untitled, c. 1950, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas

Ida Lansky — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ida Lansky, Untitled Abstraction, c. 1950, vintage gelatin silver print, about 20.3 x 25.4 cm, about 8 x 10 in., Courtesy Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, Dallas

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