MICHAEL CORINNE WEST (1908-1991)
Michael Corrine West was born in Chicago and spent most of her formative years in Ohio. She enrolled in the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1925, after opting for a career in the fine arts. West moved to New York in 1932, continuing her art education in 1933 at the Art Students League. West was a member of Hans Hofmann’s first class at the League and he remained a lasting influence on her art. Hofmann’s emphasis on the "inner eye," the ability to apprehend the essence of things, guided the artist in her spiritual approach to abstraction.
West developed a romantic relationship with the artist Arshile Gorky who introduced her to European Surrealism, an important source for her work. In 1946, West became active in the burgeoning post-war art culture of New York City later marrying the avant-garde filmmaker and photographer Francis Lee. Through Lee, West made the acquaintance of fellow artist Jackson Pollock, with whom she shared an emphasis on the painterly process as well as the assertion of the spiritual nature within the language of abstraction.