University Museums

Title: Sea Foam
Name: Framed Metal Art
Medium: Salt compounds and ferrous elements on metal
Dimensions: 26 1/2 × 38 1/2 in. (67.3 × 97.8 cm)
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Gift of Pat Thiel to be installed in Hach Hall. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Hach Chemistry Building
Object Number: U2012.42
More Information
Artist's statement: After placing salt compounds as well as some ferrous elements on the metal, I allowed the rain and wind to form the image you see. Experimental in nature, I actually allowed time and nature to create the image and then stopped the oxidation process by sealing the work.

"This work, rendered without the use of any paint, allows chemistry to assume center stage. Changing color through reaction, crystallization, fusing, and solidification are a few of the ways chemistry informs this work. Chemistry is sometimes the subject of my work, often its inspiration, and always the method or means of its creation.

The dynamic process that forms my current work involves copper, chemicals, and extreme heat. Light hits the copper and cascades into a burst of fiery color and then, just as suddenly, tapers off into cool serenity. Mood and thought change as light and color shift rhapsodically. When the light dims or strikes at certain angles the color becomes saturated, majestic, and even reverential. Shifting light on the copper surface and viewer movement are the kinesthetic forces altering perception, allowing us to discover new and interesting things each time we view the work.

Many hours of research and experimentation has allowed me to control and manipulate chemicals in order to create these images. While biology and the environment have influenced the subject of these works, it is the chemical interactions that give full expression to the images."