(TRENTON, NJ) – Metal patination artist and educator Stephen Bruce will have his first major exhibition at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie from May 7 to 29, 2022. The California artist uses different acidic solutions to etch sheets of copper or brass into earth-toned abstract paintings that conjure the power and serenity of water, earth, and sky. Bruce’s seascapes are inspired by aerial views of the oceans. His abstracts evoke the colors and patterns of geological formations. His landscapes capture ineffable moments in a sunset, a sunrise, or on the horizon.
Bruce will offer demonstrations and hands-on workshops in two area public schools, Fisher Middle School in Ewing and Grace Dunn Middle School in Trenton, through his organization the 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.
He will give a Gallery Talk at the museum Saturday, May 21 at 2:00pm. It will include a special showing of students’ works created at Dunn and Fisher Middle Schools, says the show’s curator Deborah Oliver.
“I want kids to understand that each of us has our own unique creative voice,” says Bruce. “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.”
Metal patination, the practice of etching images with acidic liquids, 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 patinas. He sprays, brushes, dips, or sponges an acid solution on the metal and allows it to slowly react. His acids are common household varieties such as pickle juice, hot sauce, salad dressing, and vinegars.
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.
The exhibition and other programming at the Trenton City Museum can be viewed Fridays and Saturdays from 12 noon to 4 pm and Sundays from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Ample parking is available adjacent to the museum in Trenton’s Cadwalader Park, entered from Parkside Ave. There is no admission charge, but donations in support of the museum’s mission and programs are appreciated.
The Trenton City Museum is housed in Ellarslie Mansion, an 1848 Italianate Villa in the heart of Trenton’s historic Cadwalader Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The museum’s exhibitions showcase fine contemporary painting and sculpture, while ongoing and changing history displays explore Trenton’s industrial and cultural past. The Trenton Museum Society, the organization that works with the City of Trenton to support the museum’s operations and programming, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2023.