Oct 122007

Tracy Helgeson’s trademark devices — vibrant and contrasting colors, slants, and basic geometric shapes — continue to play a chief role in this painting. The road divides the composition into two, acting as a type of “no man’s land” between the hot orange grove — apparently the one lit by a rising sun — and the darker, purplish one. In a way, the road also separates day from night, and light from dark. By occupying a large area at the foreground, the cool blue asphalt counterbalances the hot hues of the trees — once again, an agent of neutrality.


The eye registers the road subconsciously, effortlessly, moving on to the brighter elements ahead, which appear closer than they really are. Although the painting captures a single moment in time, it represents, by bringing viewers so close to the road, a continuity. When in stable motion, our eyes become oblivious to approaching objects, and move on to more entertaining — or simply different — things ahead; the process repeats itself time after time, for as long as the car moves forward. Byzantine Blue Road implies this process in a single visual sweep.

Not unlike the word “road,” the painting invites several allegorical interpretations. The perspective forms a vista that transforms, with the trees, into a pipe-like tunnel — at the end of which we can see a light. Furthermore, the road is significantly tilted in the foreground, perhaps referring to the bumps experienced during our everyday life. Going even further, the piece may seem like a magical flower endowed with differently colored petals, or a wheel of fortune.

*this article has been edited at a later date

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