27 Mar 2022 / 19 Nov 2021

Helen Pashgian: Presences

SITE Santa Fe presents Helen Pashgian: Presences, an exhibition celebrating Pashgian’s contributions to the Light and Space movement and her technical prowess as an innovator in her medium of industrial plastics. Using cast resin to examine light in solid form, Pashgian creates sculpture and immersive installations that explore illusion, perception and light.

This first-of-its-kind exhibition in New Mexico surveys this trailblazing artist’s five-decade career. Helen Pashgian: Presences shows the breadth and depth of her work and takes viewers on a journey through poetic investigations of light and space.

Centered on her critically acclaimed large-scale sculptural installation, Untitled (2012-13), which premiered at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2014, the exhibition features a thoughtful gathering of spheres, lenses and rare wall hangings. Activated by movement, these luminous works subtly shift as the viewers move around and through them.

Helen Pashgian: Presences coincides with several exciting events including Light and Space, an exhibition at Copenhagen Contemporary (November 25, 2021- September 9, 2022), Spheres and Lenses at Lehmann Maupin in New York (November 4- December 8, 2021), and the release of a new publication by Radius Books titled: Helen Pashgian: Spheres and Lenses, a 172-page full-color book documenting Helen Pashgian’s work from the 1960’s to the present. The book will be available for purchase at curated: The Store at SITE Santa Fe.

About the Artist:

Photo by Angelo Silvio Vasta for the New York Times
Born in 1934 in Pasadena, California, Pashgian is a pre-eminent member of the 1960s Light and Space movement in Southern California. Over the course of her career, Pashgian has produced a significant series of sculptures composed of vibrantly colored columns, discs, and spheres that often feature an isolated element appearing suspended, embedded, or encased within.

Accompanying Events:

Helen Pashgian: Presences Public Opening and Helen Pashgian: Spheres and Lenses, book singing.
Friday, November 19, 5 – 8 pm
Free and open to the public

Helen Pashgian will be in conversation with David Chickey, Publisher & Creative Director of Radius Books. Signed books will be available for sale in curated: The Store at SITE Santa Fe following the conversation. Music will begin at 6pm with delicious food from Jesushi and custom cocktails from Rolling Still Distillery!

Awash in the Airlight: The Light of LA and the Art Movement it Helped to Spawn with Lawrence Weschler
Saturday, November 20, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

What was it about Southern California in the sixties and seventies that helped to spawn the distinctive Light and Space movement in which Helen Pashgian was to play such an important part? Renowned author Lawrence Weschler will consider not only influences like surf culture, Hollywood, and proximity to Asian and Pacific aesthetics, but also certain seminal qualities in the Light of LA itself.

My Life in Art with Helen Pashgian interviewed by Michael Govan
Saturday, November 20, 1:30 – 2:30 pm

Helen Pashgian will be in conversation with Michael Govan, the CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Helen Pashgian: The Science of Feeling: Art Talk by Merry Scully
Thurs, Jan 27, 2022

Art historian and Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Merry Scully will discuss key concepts relating to Helen Pashgian’s work including the sense of newness and innovation on the West Coast, as well as the ideas of perception, physical sensation, and phenomena.

Light and Space-based artists are noted for their use of the new materials and the emerging technologies available in post war California. Their artworks are often discussed as a merging of the innovations made and used by aerospace and other advanced industries with the culture of region – most notably surfing and car culture. The American West is a location often associated with opportunity, a place during the mid-20th century perceived to be of the future, not as tied to history, a site open to alternatives in medicine, lifestyles, and artist materials. This attitude, environment, and materials allowed the artists to create works that were physically different and entirely new. Like many artists from the West, or who made their way to the West and Southwest in the 20th century, these artists were striving to create works beyond the representational, to move beyond the strictly visual, to exploit perception, and to create artworks that are experienced as much as they were seen.

Permission to Travel: Poetry inspired by Helen Pashgian’s work
Sun, Feb 27, 2022 5pm

In celebration of artist Helen Pashgian, writers from Kundiman Southwest respond to and engage the sensory ‘presences’; that the installations evoke in this reading of their works in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and hybrid forms. Seating limited to 50 attendees.

Kundiman is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American creative writing. In this intersection of the literary and the visual, we are given ‘permission to travel.’ Poets include Dara Elerath, Anushah Jiwani, Elizabeth Lee, Jane Lin, and Edie Tsong.

Miss the event? Catch the #LunchTalk!

STEAM Exhibition Tour