The Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible, an exhibition featuring sculptures by one of the pioneering artists of the Light and Space movement that began in the 1960s in Los Angeles. On display from September 26, 2014 through January 4, 2015, the exhibition of large light-infused columns and other works will transform the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery into an ethereal sensory environment yielding experiences that are both meditative and astonishing.
Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with additional works from the artist’s studio, Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible comprises twelve paired, semi-translucent columns made from industrial materials such as acrylic sheets and cast resin that appear to glow from within. Ms. Pashgian is celebrated for using simple geometric forms that interact with light and inspire contemplation of the relativity of perception. The imposing cylindrical sculptures, approximately eight feet tall, “seem to hover slightly over the floor, paradoxically countering their monumentality with a sense of weightlessness,” says Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala. Other works in this exhibition include cast-resin spheres and epoxy wall pieces that offer a multitude of visual experiences depending on the viewer’s point of observation. “While we think we understand what we are seeing, a slight shift to the left or right, closer or further changes everything we thought we perceived,” says Mr. Scala.
First enthralled by the distinct Southern California light of her youth, Ms. Pashgian continues to be interested in the way materials change light’s character through absorption, reflection and refraction, and the psychological effects this has on her audience. Mr. Scala notes that Pashgian’s intention is “to express mystery more than encapsulate empirical knowledge.”
The Light and Space movement flourished in Southern California beginning in the late 1960s when such artists as Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Robert Irwin, James Turrell and DeWain Valentine explored light as a medium for transforming perception and shaping sensory experiences. “They created sculptures and environments in which natural or artificial light bounced off, played over, or passed through fiberglass, glass, plastic and polyester resin,” says Mr. Scala. “Pashgian’s contributions have long been recognized among her fellow artists,” notes Scala, but with this exhibition, which originated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, they have now achieved international acknowledgment for their beauty and originality.”
Helen Pashgian Helen
Pashgian is a native of Pasadena, California and has been an active artist since the 1960s. She is noted for being one of the few women of the Light and Space movement. She has exhibited in California at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Pomona College Museum of Art in Claremont; Palm Springs Art Museum; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Pashgian earned a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Pomona College in 1956. She attended Columbia University from 1956–1957 and received her M.A. from Boston University in 1958. From 1970–1971, she was artist-in-residence, California Institute of Technology. Ms. Pashgian is represented by Ace Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.