NATHAN BENNETT: A Night of Patina
September 16 – October 1, 2022
Reception and Patina Demonstration: Friday, September 16th from 5 - 7pm
The art of patina is one of the oldest processes known to man. Although patina can naturally occur, the deliberate act of applying it remains an ancient technique, and one of the most secretive art forms today. Ancient Egyptians would patina their sculptures to create shades of red, blue, green and gold and today, Utah artist Nathan Bennett introduces this process on 2-dimensional pieces of bronze, resulting in complex patina paintings.
Nathan Bennett's latest body of work encapsulate his inner workings through the forms of trees. Each of them have electric branches that soar out, and while they may seem electrified, they are firmly planted and thriving in each environment. Their probabilities for growth are endless.
The techniques used in the patina painting processes look simple, but in fact are nothing short of complex--requiring an in-depth understanding of chemistry and the order in which the elements must be applied to achieve the desired chemical reaction and color. Bennett starts with a sheet of bronze and etches a rough outline of the forms he envisions. "This creates a surface texture that allows the bronze to receive the chemicals". Next, hard metals or powdered elements are dissolved in a liquid solution such as nitric acid to create a formula that once applied to the metal will create a chemical reaction that ultimately changes the color of the metal—a result we call patina. Heat is applied to the bronze in order to remove the water from the metal and prepare it to better receive the liquid. The chemicals are applied by brush to the bronze like paint, with as much fine detail or surface coverage as desired. Each chemical element has different properties and can change colors as different amounts of heat are applied.