Helium Brick aka Summer Snow, 2006
“The piece is made from basically an industrial block of Styrofoam. The whole surface is this kind of web-like resin. So I put it on the palette, and I started the process of painting these different layers of resin on it. And every time I would do a new layer, I would change the color, as a way of keeping track. It sort of made a timeline in a sense. And I’d paint a new layer on, it would eat into the Styrofoam and spread as it did and kind of reveal more Styrofoam. So what I did was just try and keep going until you couldn’t see the Styrofoam anymore, and it had built up this kind of colored skin all around it. I imagine there’s these sort of cavernous areas in there. I really don’t actually know to what degree its Styrofoam anymore.
“The smell of the piece is something that people mention a lot. The funny thing to me is people have been telling me it smells like honey, which never occurred to me. To me its sort of a really industrial funk, which gives it that aspect, it tells you something about the piece through that smell. Something about the kind of origins of the material or the place of the material.
“Thinking about this piece, the way that Styrofoam and the resin kind of worked their way into each other and really became one molded material, this piece made me think of the time when I was walking around New York and there was some late Spring snow. And all these particles of dirt and other things had worked their way into the snow. So you knew it was snow, but it was also a record of a lot of other things. It really became one molded material, so that’s what it is now. I think the core in some places is Styrofoam, but it’s kind of all intermeshed with this color.”