27 Jan 2022

Merry Scully on Helen Pashgian

Related Event: Helen Pashgian: The Science of Feeling with speakers

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.