It’s spring, so a splendid time to experience the sunny spirituality and science of The Transcendental Painting Group, whose early 20th century works are making a final stop at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in the exhibition, Another World: Transcendental Painting Group, 1938—1945. While painting styles of the 1930s and ’40s conjure up realism and populism, as well as Eurocentric cubism, the TPG sought to manifest universal symbols in order to capture the primordial nature of life.

Converging in Taos, New Mexico, the members channeled a collective, ecumenical aesthetic through their precise abstractions. Member William Lumpkins stressed that “Art must keep up with science. We are trying to reach beyond the illusory forms of materialism into the reality of form of the immaterial.” Instead of the muted, neutral colors favored in styles of the era, TPG artists favored the pastel pinks, apricots, and blues inspired by the southwestern skies, contemplating, and, in effect celebrating the shared cosmos in light-filled geometric compositions. LACMA is presenting the show in what they call a “technology-free environment,” so no digital guides, just you in the moment, complementing the words of co-founder Raymond Johnson: “God is in us, and not some superior being outside of us. I believe that through the abstract and non-objective we will be able to state at least a portion of what life means.” —Gwynned Vitello