Ruth Pastine: Sublime Terror


Ruth Pastine: Sublime Terror

September 7 - October 26, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7, 2019 | 6 to 8 PM

(Los Angeles) Edward Cella Art & Architecture, is pleased to present Sublime Terror, a new series of paintings by Ruth Pastine. Representing the fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, it features the newest progression of Pastine’s investigation of the perception of color through fluctuating boundaries, relationships and structures. Sublime Terror reveals the essential tensions that drive her work: surface and depth, light and matter, materiality and immateriality, the finite and the limitless.

Informed by the systematic understanding of color developed at the Bauhaus and the 19th Century research of Michel Eugène Chevreul and his discovery of simultaneous contrast; her new paintings challenge phenomena of color perception and the relativity of color and light in an installation that reveal themselves between the uncertainty and intentionality of their making. For Pastine, “Color itself, in its infinite beauty, constitutes the terrifying immeasurable field of light and space that it defines.”

Abandoning the square canvas format entirely for this body of work, these new paintings are defined by distinct frameworks of banding in horizontal and vertical formats. This installation positions viewers to consider color field paintings that transcend and offset the picture plane. Pastine describes this by saying, “There is a reciprocity between predetermined systems of color and canvas format, and these known systems are in constant opposition to the spontaneity of the painting process itself.  As these systems change and advance; the opportunity for mediation between the known and the unknown embraces my philosophical interests in the sublime which Immanuel Kant defined as requiring the presence of something terrifying and beautiful.”

Exploring new color relationships, Pastine creates paintings through a highly refined process of building layer upon layer of oil paint on canvas.  Engaging both complementary hues and opposing values within a self-limited color system. Made with immeasurable small brushstrokes, her impeccably subtle gradations develop spatial juxtapositions by transforming the materiality of the painted surface into an optically immaterial experience.  For Pastine, “Color is a vehicle for existential experience, for engaging in the present moment of discovery. The finite complementary color systems paradoxically afford the essential parameters that access limitless possibility. When in orchestration with the spontaneous process of painting itself, there is the potential to transform the materiality of the painted surface into an optical, sensual, and spiritual experience.”

Sublime Terror is an important move for Pastine as part of a deliberate conceptual leap to contextualize the interplay of transcendental fields with definable forms.  By bringing together the tangible with the intangible, Pastine states that there is, “an essential tension in my work, an ever-present exchange and dialogue between presence and absence, matter and light, light and space, intention and spontaneity, and the finite and the limitless. This demands letting go, and accepting the free fall of the unknown, and risking failure. The unknown is always at the edge of discovery and is the on ramp to new work.”



ARTIST TALK: Ruth Pastine with curator Andi Campognone

Saturday, October 5, 2019 | 3:00 to 4:00 P.M.

Join artist Ruth Pastine and Andi Campognone, curator of the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) for a discussion of the artist’s newest body of work exploring phenomena of color perception within the context of the Light and Space movement and the nature of the sublime.

Free and open to the public. For reservations, please email or call 323.525.0053.


Born in New York City, Pastine earned a B.F.A. from Cooper Union in 1987. She was awarded a travel and independent research grant to attend the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, Netherlands where she lived from 1987 to 1988. Pastine later attended Hunter College where she received an M.F.A. in 1993. In 2009, Ruth Pastine began site-specific work with a large-scale public commission entitled Limitless, composed of eight monumental paintings installed in the adjoining lobbies of Ernst & Young Plaza, in downtown Los Angeles. In 2014, Ruth Pastine had her first museum survey exhibition entitled: Attraction: 1993-2013 at MOAH Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA with exhibition catalog essays by Donald Kuspit and Peter Frank. In 2015, she opened Present Tense: Paintings and Pastel Works on Paper 2010-2015 at the CAM Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA. Ruth Pastine has exhibited widely in the United States and Japan and Pastine’s works are included in numerous public and corporate collections, including the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; MCASD Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles; MOAH Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA; Brookfield Properties, Ernst & Young Plaza, Los Angeles; AXA Art, Cologne, Germany; Qualcomm, San Diego; CIM Group Headquarters, Los Angeles, among others. In 2001, Pastine relocated from New York City to Ojai, CA where she currently lives and works.


Andi Campognone has over 30 years of arts experience in California as a maker, curator and an administrator.  She is the Owner/Director of AC Projects, a private consulting organization focused on promoting arts and culture. Projects include developing museum exhibitions, public engagement, mentoring programs and book and film publications of California artists. Campognone is also the Museum Manager/Curator for the City of Lancaster.  Her curatorial focus for both museum and commercial gallery projects is an emphasis on finding a balance between concept and craft. In her role as Museum Manager, she is responsible for the development and maintenance of partnerships and community engagement initiatives with artists, businesses, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles County Supervisors office and higher level institutions.  She develops curatorial direction for exhibition programming and educational programming and additionally she is directing the Museum accreditation process for MOAH. She is currently leading the partnership between LACMA and MOAH. She is the co-founder of Kipaipai, a professional development workshop for artists in Hawaii, California and New York. Ms. Campognone is on the Board of the Lancaster Museum and Public Art Foundation and on the Public Art Committee for the City of Lancaster, California. She volunteers as a regular speaker and mentor to art students at both the undergraduate and graduate level and is on the advisory board of the Los Angeles Arts Association and a member of ArTTable.