Molten Metals - The Work of Leland Brinkman
I’ve always liked abstract art, and I wanted to make some of my own, but with an organic process, so I came up with the idea of using liquid metals and salt-based acids to do it. - Leland Brinkman
Upon hearing the name "Liquid Metal Alchemy" one can be forgiven for imagining medieval men in long robes standing over bubbling pots in a poorly-lit castle dungeon, but there is nothing medieval about the works of Leland Brinkman. His pieces are wildly contemporary, as much science as art utilizing chemical processes and the whims of the environment to create his incredible works of art.
Leland's work relies upon the reactions between metal and acid, a process that is as obscure as it is complex. He begins by mixing varying ratios of powdered iron, copper, and bronze with different types of salt-based elements and acids. This mixture is spread over a specially prepared wooden ground which has been painted a solid color. The piece takes shape over the course of 72 hours, as the metals react with the acids and the environment - he writes that the end result of a piece can be influenced by things as seemingly inconsequential as the breeze and fluctuations in temperature.
"Cosmic Sea" (30x36)
Through the reactions between the metals and the salts, Leland creates stunningly complex abstract works that allow for endless interpretation. They could just as easily be an overview of the earth, a photorealistic painting of a splash of water, or an amoeba on a sample plate. The possible interpretations of his work are endlessly mystifying - even more so once one is aware of the process behind it.
"Into the Blue" (48x48)
Based out of Naples, FL, Leland got his start in interior decorating and refinishing - doing custom finishes and fabrication for designers and developers around Naples. He says that he got the idea for Liquid Metal Alchemy while welding, becoming fascinated by the changes in metal as it oxidizes and responds to the environment. He developed the process himself, learning the chemistry and perfecting the mixture until he was able to achieve the effect he wanted. Due to the nature of his fabrication work, Leland has always been close with the arts community in Naples and has watched the art world change throughout the years. He counts his father among his influences, as well as artist Ran Adler, whose work also embraces the ever-changing beauty of the natural world.
In the end, Leland has done what the alchemists of old never managed - turning other metals into gold - although in this case, it's an artistic gold rather than a physical one.