Jeffrey Jon Gluck — Sculptor

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Metal Wall Sculptures

Technical Processes



My work is made from sheets of metal. I use copper in conjunction with itself or mild steel or stainless steel. Copper has amazing properties; it can be shaped by cutting, formed by stretching and shrinking into 3-dimensional volumes, and textured by hammering. It's surface reflectance can be changed by polishing and buffing. Copper can also be colored by heat and chemical treatments known as patination and softened or hardened by annealing and "working."

I assemble metals in layers, some are cut through, others are smoothed, bent, joined to each other or joined to themselves by welding and epoxies. My work is a type of repousse', one of the oldest metal smithing techniques in the world. Copper is a malleable metal that is softened or annealed by heating it to "red" color. In this state it can be "pushed back" by hammering. I choose to hammer the softened copper into an "edge die" which is the outline of the shape cut out in a board. The copper is fastened to the board and gradually hammered down through the cut out hole. The 3-dimensional quality of the shape is a result of the hammering process which slowly work hardens the metal as the hammering precedes. The perimeter or circumference of the hole effects and influences the 3-dimensional shape. While I am hammering the copper, I respond to the increasing stresses in the metal as the work hardening progresses. Some pieces take several annealing and hammering repetitions.

If the hammered piece is aback layer, it is carefully fitted to the opening in the front sheet. This makes it seem like the form is pushing through the flat surface. I use concave receding elements and convex emerging ones as well. Sometimes three or four pieces are joined together, at other times the work is done all in one piece of metal. These techniques allow me to manifest my vocabulary of forms in a variety of methods.

I use a combination of surface finishing techniques. Copper may be treated with a cold liquid wash. By using a resist or blocking the solution from touching the copper surface, patterns are etched onto the metal. Or, I may use an undercoating followed by a "hot" patina. In this case the metal is heated with a torch and sprayed with a chemical formula until the final patination is achieved. Some pieces are just "hot" patinated. Occasionally several different patinas are used in one assemblage of elements. Mild steel rusts in richly colored variegated patterns which can be accelerated by chemical means or gradually developed with water. Stainless steel yields a variety of light responsive surfaces resulting from polishing and buffing practices. My pieces are sealed by waxing, lacquering or oiling. This enriches their color and preserves their quality.


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