Untitled

Helen Pashgian
Untitled
Epoxy and acrylic on canvas laid down on wood, 1981
60 x 60 inches
Gift of Anne B. Kennedy
2001.005.003

Helen Pashgian’s Untitled indicates an interior space, or perhaps a submerged space, with a light source that is descending downward from above. The kind of deep penetrating shadow and strong raking light found in the painting occurs in the late afternoon. The mood is warm and cozy, inviting the viewer to occupy the same intimate psychological space.

Pashgian is a California Light and Space artist who experimented with resin and plastics, as well as other unconventional materials in the late 1960s and 1970s to create works that altered one’s sense of space and perception. By the 1980s, most California Light and Space artists had abandoned the use of toxic materials like resin and fiberglass and had moved on to other media. In works like Untitled, Pashgian continued to explore issues of perception and states of consciousness using epoxy in place of resin.

Just about every aspect of Pashgian’s Untitled is ambiguous and uncertain, like a feeling from a dream or a state of visual reverie—the kind that occurs when you are focused inward and form and color blend abstractly without any attending associations to draw the mind away from the moment. Instead one experiences the simple play of color, light, and shadow and the sense of peacefulness and tranquility that come with letting thought go.