“The Combinent of Helix X and Helix Y”
Remarqued Fournier Bronze Edition of 95


The Helix Y and the Helix X exist as two separate works that also come together to form the groundbreaking installation, The Combinent Helix X and Helix Y. In these works we meet M.L. Snowden at the threshold of bronze that opens an important door onto the sculptor’s ethos and craft.


The word “Combinent” is a term created by the artist that refers to Snowden’s metallurgical technique that locks and welds the prominent works of the Helix X and the Helix Y in an indelible unification that has come to celebrate the DNA code of human passion, birth and spirituality. A seminal work, the sculpture was created on a dimensional armature that was sculpted by Snowden during the last weeks that brought the mapping of the human genome project to completion. As a noted arts commentator observes, “The context of the creative time-line for this bronze as well as the superb level of craftsmanship lavished on every plane, signals The Combinent as an important historic artifact. Snowden’s landmark sculpture stands as the definitive monument of the millennium.”

The Combinent Helix X and Helix Y penetrates a veil of physical phenomena in forming an intense portrait of the “fluid genome.” Cutting edge ideas of conversant transposable genetic elements conceptually illuminate the deep recesses of the figurative planes of the work. Mounted in separate and combined installations, the Helix X and the Helix Y were recently added to the permanent collection of Genzyme, the world’s largest research institution into rare genetic disorders, located between MIT and Harvard. In this extraordinary bronze that weighs upon the fluid dynamics of vortex formation, Snowden’s sculptural conception first began as an evocation of a tornado seen as an atmospheric spiral imbued with the erosive power to shape landforms. As the original sculpture developed, it enclosed meteoric as well as cutting-edge meditations on molecular genetics. Indeed, Snowden’s ideas have lent unique plateaus to the heart of The Combinent’s depth as an exploration of bronze metallurgical substance that reaches out to embrace interrelated elements of planets, stars and the structures of humankind. In an extraordinary leap of artistic foresight dictated by the demands of the compositional structure relating to its casting, Snowden built the spiraling Helix Y male element and the female Helix X at approximate scale ratios that mirror X & Y chromosome measurements, creating the X structure of the sculpture significantly larger than the Y. Indeed, through combining the two Helix elements, subtle compositional insights become apparent, such as the vertical incline of the female X element that speaks of the strong genetic centricity of the XX in contrast to the unique attributes of the male XY.

Through the sculptor’s fingerprints impacting every angle of the bronze, signatures of human energy permeate the work at every angle. Each raw and refined passage of abstract figural lineation creates a lasting testament of a genetically inherited sculptural ability that in a certain and important sense of the bronze, speaks of energies that have given birth to Snowden’s sculpture as an art of generational descent. In its calling, The Combinent Helix X and Helix Y is a millennial statement of glowing hope, life, rebirth, and continuance. From spiral galaxies to sunspots; from hurricanes to smoke rings; from whirlpools of stirred molten bronze to the helix, the cyclonical motion of a property swirling rapidly around a center is conveyed in all its grandeur and import in this sculptural formation that is reverberated across the cosmos.

Text: Di Sulio