The interaction between the austerity of the original boxes and the relative excessiveness of the crushed versions suggested the possibility of playing productively with the tension between the minimal and the baroque. The artist has since experimented with different colours: sober greys and blacks, as well as more flamboyant metallic paints. She has used varnish, applied to the boxes after squashing. This glossy substance serves to counteract the roughness of the cardboard and plaster, while also reintroducing much-needed structural integrity. It prevents the works from becoming wholly physically impoverished, while still allowing the ordinariness and vulnerability of their ingredients to show through.
Lacey’s most recent boxes incorporate further elements. Through the fault lines in the broadly monotone upper layers of some works may be spied threads of electric blue or fluorescent pink. Other works have been coated in silicone and dusted with pigment, creating surfaces similar to those of Anish Kapoor’s powdered sculptures. Unlike the varnish, this treatment reinforces the chalkiness of the cardboard support, making it appear still more tenuous, even as it adds strength. Furthermore, it offsets the visual effects of the squashing, toying with one’s perception of depth, and making the precise nature of the underlying forms less legible.