Staff Pick | Monthly Muse August 2021
What is the secret in Helen Pashgian’s Blue Secret? My initial response points to the single, radiating, brushstroke-like mark that interrupts the green-blue, curved, rectangular plane hovering between the surface and the wall. This mark, however, poses more questions to me than it answers. Pashgian is an artist increasingly recognized as one of the most influential members of the Light and Space movement. In her practice, the object is not the artwork. In Blue Secret, light is not merely that which illuminates the work, but instead forms its very matter.
The secret of Blue Secret, in my view, is two-fold: the internal illuminated stroke produced through the artist's use of different materials as well as the obscure workings of light itself. Here, rather than simply revealing an image, light is rendered mysterious. It is not only an exterior transmission between the artwork and the viewer, but matter with its own strange corporeality. Blue Secret exposes the materiality of light, toying with its impenetrable and alien logics. For me, the work simultaneously evokes an atmosphere of reflection—the calm, blue, minimal plane and its singular interruption—and a feeling of destabilization. Embodiments of light, like the ghostly mark in Blue Secret, are all around me and form my visual world. Rather than revealing the world to me, perhaps these moments of light hide themselves as I navigate a universe of secrets.
IMCA Graduate Student Assistant Researcher (Curatorial Department)