Posted in Exhibits, Past Exhibits

Mastering Alchemy: Works on Copper

Stephen Bruce

Show extended!
See it through June 12

California-based artist and educator Stephen Bruce uses acids to etch sheets of copper or brass into earth-toned abstract paintings that evoke the power and serenity of water, earth, and sky, saying his biggest artistic influence is Mother Earth. His seascapes are inspired by aerial views of the oceans.

Bruce’s abstracts evoke the colors and patterns of geological formations. His landscapes capture ineffable moments in a sunset, a sunrise, or on the horizon. Combining his aesthetic sensibility with practiced technical skill, Bruce creates works that provoke the viewer to rethink and reimagine what might otherwise go unnoticed.

The concept of metal patination is centuries old. While patinas on metal can be created by painting with flame or using hot or cold solutions, Bruce’s method is cold patina. Using sprays, brushes, dips, or sponges, he applies an acid solution to a metal surface and allows it to slowly react. Examples of the acids he uses are found in most households and include pickle juice, hot sauce, salad dressing, and vinegars.

“Previous experience tells me how the colors, patterns and textures will develop and how long it may take to happen. There are some processes that can completed in a day, but most take five to ten days to complete.”

Stephen Bruce

Working with area school students

Bruce gave hands-on tutorials in two area public schools, Trenton’s Grace A. Dunn Middle School and Ewing’s Gilmore J. Fischer Middle School, through his nonprofit Skidmore Project. Providing all materials at no cost, the Skidmore Project encourages young students to learn how to notice and acknowledge their own creative spirit, showing in practical terms how science and art are accessible, useful, and connected.

“I want kids to understand that each of us has our own unique creative voice. I want them to know that exploration and experimentation are life-long skills that provide possibilities – an avenue into viewing and even improving our world. Such a mindset can help solve some of our toughest problems, while at the same time revealing the unseen beauty that is often just under the surface.”

Stephen Bruce

Bruce will give a Gallery Talk, Saturday, May 21, at 2 p.m. at Trenton City Museum. Throughout that day, the museum will exhibit student artwork created during Bruce’s school demonstrations. Parents and student artists are encouraged to attend.

Stephen Bruce’s artwork can be seen on the sets of many television shows and movies, including House, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, Californication, The Big Bang Theory, Last Man Standing, The American Housewife, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Endgame, Horrible Bosses, and The Social Network.