Practitioners of a supposedly superannuated aesthetic, veteran light-and-space cadets Helen Pashgian and Lita Albuquerque forge ahead with confidence, brilliance and more than a touch of magic. Albuquerque’s photographs document her earthworks, realized with vast applications of colored pigment to everything from the desert to the Washington Mall. Albuquerque flies into more ethereal realms with her recent Earth-from-space fantasies. Pashgian goes for the light in a recent series of translucent wall works in which apparently three-dimensional geometric forms are suspended mysteriously and symmetrically in large containers, half disappearing into the ether enclosed therein and giving the lie to the boxes’ shallow depths.

Light also fills the hyperrealist paintings of Stephen Magsig, known for his crisp, sunlit renditions of the façades found in revitalized cast-iron districts, notably in downtown New York. Coming west, Magsig augments these souvenirs of Soho with almost blindingly vivid portrayals of movie marquees and Hollywood shop signs silhouetted against Santa Ana skies. Also showing along with Magsig is Janet Hamrick, who weaves intricate abstract patterns into monochrome fields. Think velvet wallpaper (red or otherwise) — but Hamrick’s contrapuntal compositions subvert all patterning conventions, reading more like notation than decoration.

Helen Pashgian and Lita Albuquerque at Patricia Faure, 2525 Michigan Ave., Suite B7, Santa Monica; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (310) 449-1479. Stephen Magsig and Janet Hamrick at George Billis, 2716 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (310) 838-3685. All thru July 8.

—Peter Frank

LA Weekly