Patinas are aesthetic forms of oxidation and corrosion of metal surfaces. Chemical treatments create images that transcend their medium with colors and textures unexpected of the underlying metal.

Matthew Behrend trained as an electrical engineer with applications in biomedical sciences. Many technologies associated with microfabrication have been adapted to the macro scale for producing truly unique patinas.

In-tek Arts uses modern techniques to produce traditional patina colors as well as a novel electrochemical process for surreal forms and colors.

Artist Statement

Electric patinas are mesmerizing images formed by electric fields on a metal surface. The work is characterized by surreal scenes with abstract forms, smooth contours, naturally-formed gradients, and a subtle color palette. Forces of water and electricity are apparent through their effects on the work. Brass or copper sheet metal is submerged in a bath of electrolytes, connected to a precision voltage source and a counter electrode to form images. This opens a conversation with nature about physical reality and the illusions of form we see in subjective experience, recorded on the metal surface.

Matthew’s work explores what joins the surrounding world to human experience and how our senses lead to interpretations. The patina medium offers the artist a real-time connection to the emerging image, similar to a photographic development process. The work is generally touched by nothing but water, remaining alive and chemically reactive until dried. Electric fields are an important part of the medium for projecting the patterns where colors will appear. These patinas offer the viewer another window into experience. They encourage insight into form and certainty in a progression of fluid events.