The Romantic notion of the sublime continues to haunt our consciousness, often accompanied by a healthy dose of critique. The concept, most famously articulated in the influential writings of Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant, posits, in a simplified version, that a form might either delight the eye (the beautiful) or overwhelm the viewer through scale, power and grandeur (the sublime). In The Feminine Sublime, currently on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, five Los Angeles-based painters further explore this legacy in response to contemporary conditions. That these artists happen to be female, dealing with notions typically ascribed to their male counterparts, offers another layer to excavate.

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