Helen MacMahon's practice is concerned primarily with the phenomena of light, movement, perception and space.
The work strives to observe and reveal the ecosystem that exists between the viewer and these intangible elements that exist in a perpetual state of transformation. Changes occurring in each element has a perceptible impact on the others, revealing previously overlooked properties and characteristics.
MacMahon's investigation of light and materials is experimental in nature, and this exploratory process is as important as the finished piece, the unpredictability of the techniques often being key to discovery. She uses commonplace materials, such as light, glass, and lenses that have the potential to act in surprising ways, distorting and obscuring the very things it is their function to reveal. Each component acts as a catalyst bringing to light unseen potential in the simplest of materials. Maintaining the integrity of the materials is also important, so the viewer is allowed to experience the everyday objects in new and often unexpected ways.
MacMahon's is influenced equally by contemporary developments in physics and optics and by the historical developments of these disciplines. Architecture plays a huge role in the evolution of her installations as do technological advances in materials science.