Lydia Alekseevna Masterkova. Composition, 1968. Oil and fabric on canvas Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. Photo Peter Jacobs

This exhibition is the first in a series that pairs artists who shared a common history, but whose careers have not been served by histories of unofficial art outside Russia. Each artist was extremely prominent in dissident circles: Masterkova in Moscow and Rukhin in Leningrad. Lydia Masterkova (1929-2002) was associated with the Lianozovo group of artists and writers who gathered, and sometimes lived, on the outskirts of Moscow in what had been a gulag (labor camp) for women. Her abstract paintings are most often shown together with those of her husband, Vladimir Nemukhin. Yet, in her attention to painterly facture, enhanced by layers of collaged materials often with legible histories (fragments of chasubles, antique lace, and other fabrics), she responded to the shared legacy of abstract painting in Russia more in the manner of Rukhin than other Lianozovo artists.

Evgenii Rukhin. (Untitled), 1975. Mixed media on canvas On loan from the collection of Norton and Nancy Dodge. Photo Jack Abraham