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light and space sculpture

Helen Pashgian

On View April 15, 2021 – May 15, 2022

Helen Pashgian is a pioneer of the 1960s Light and Space movement in Southern California. Over the course of her career, Pashgian has produced a significant series of sculptures comprised of vibrantly colored columns, discs, and spheres that often feature an isolated element appearing suspended, embedded, or encased within. Using an innovative application of industrial epoxies, plastics, and resins, Pashgian’s works are characterized by their semi-translucent surfaces that appear to filter and somehow contain illumination. For Pashgian, she thinks of her works as “presences” in space—presences that do not reveal everything at once.

Trained as an art historian with a focus on seventeenth-century Dutch art, Pashigan’s reverence for painter Johannes Vermeer has been fundamental to her longstanding interest in the effects and perception of light. While she has gravitated towards experimenting with non-traditional materials, her primary concern has always been to maintain light as the object and subject of her work. For the artist, light is not simply a metaphor, symbol, or allegory; light itself is both the medium and the message.

The exhibition will consist of a new site-specific work created in honor of the opening of the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College.

About the Artist

Helen Pashgian received her BA from Pomona College, Claremont, CA in 1956 and MA from Boston University, Boston, MA in 1958, and also attended Columbia University, New York, NY 1956-57. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2014); Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2010); and Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA (2007).