Particles and Waves will examine how concepts and technologies from subfields of modern physics impacted the development of abstract (or non-figurative) styles of artwork in postwar Southern California. Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, scientists at institutions near Los Angeles including Mount Wilson Observatory, the California Institute for Technology, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena generated groundbreaking experimental research in astronomy and particle physics. During and after World War II, the region remained at the forefront of scientific inquiry in theoretical physics and its applications within aerospace engineering, industrial manufacturing, and communications technologies. Between 1945 and 1980, many artists in Los Angeles produced visually abstract artworks while closely engaging with scientific ideas, mathematical theories, and materials or processes derived from physics and engineering. Particles and Waves unites several generations of artists working in diverse materials and styles to examine how scientific advances in modern physics inspired a range of visually abstract artworks by practitioners concerned with light, energy, motion, and time.
“The Foundation’s commitment to supporting artists by funding the institutions that incubate, encourage, exhibit and critically engage their work is unwavering. Non-profit arts organizations face profound challenges due to the political, economic, social and cultural upheavals of our current moment. At the same time, and more than ever, artists need the supportive community and creative encouragement that these organizations provide.”
Joel Wachs, President