Abstract Expressionism (1955 - 1980)
The years from 1953-1956 marked a crucial transitional period in Bongé’s work as she moved from her Surrealist explorations into fully abstract work. All representational traces disappeared and were replaced with bold colors, broad strokes, strong gestures, and richly textured paint surfaces.
By 1955 Bongé had embraced the color-field, gestural, expressionist painting that dominated American art of the period. Her work exhibited the quintessential spontaneous and improvisational hallmarks of Abstract Expressionism (AbEx), with its rich array of colors, use of large brushes and sweeping gestural marks. Indeed, Abstract Expressionism ultimately became the artistic style in which she found her greatest satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the Betty Parsons Gallery (one of the most prestigious galleries of Abstract Expressionist art in the nation) had opened in New York in 1946. Betty Parsons, herself an artist, is credited for her major role in the early promotion of Abstract Expressionism in the art world at large. Dusti Bongé forged a relationship with the AbEx dealer, who would represent her for many years. Parsons gave Bongé her first solo exhibition in April 1956. Her association with the Betty Parsons Gallery lasted from 1946 to 1975 when she had her final show at the gallery.
Bongé continued to work in her Abstract Expressionist style throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. During these years she experimented with a somewhat darker palette, with three-dimensional paintings, and with “pictures for windows” painted on fiberglass, which were featured in her 1975 show..