Time on Its Side
Tilted ninety degrees to the left, the waterfall in Marlo Pascual’s untitled photograph on velvet is a stripped-down, original twist on a familiar obsession among artists—think of Hokusai’s contemplative and purifying cascades, the Hudson River painters’ sublime impressions of Niagara Falls as well as works by contemporary artists, like Isca Greenfield Sanders or Zoe Leonard, who focus on the mediated, touristic filter of these natural phenomena. In comparison to some of her contemporaries, Pascual is less concerned with context; the cascade’s surroundings have been cropped out, save for a treetop at bottom right.
This photograph offers a playful inversion of time, a theme the artist has previously tapped. In her earlier work Pascual expressed time through nostalgic, campy remnants in wry constructions made from found, vintage photographs of 1950s-era Hollywood starlets. This new piece is a more abstract and pithy statement about photography’s desire to fix time; what could be more difficult to grasp than a relentless waterfall? When in its upright position, the churning water spilling endlessly over a cliff is recycled and unstoppable; time is both cyclical and progressive. Adding to that, in this present work, time becomes a blurry horizon.