Alchemical Bloom is a system of artificial growth using information gathered from a natural source. A new copper sculpture “grows” every week; the size and texture of which is affected by the weather. Using information from an outdoor digital thermometer, a controller varies the amount of power supplied to the electroforming tank where the copper sculpture grows. The colder the temperature is, the higher the voltage is in the tank, which causes a faster, grainier growth. A warmer temperature lowers the voltage, resulting in a smaller object with a smoother texture. The completed sculpture is removed from the tank each Wednesday evening and hung on a wire in chronological order of production. The bloom quickly develops a patina, while the excess copper sulfate drips onto an aluminum canvas underneath, creating crystalline designs. Process, product and byproduct all become “the art” in this transmutation of weather, electricity and chemistry.

  • Alchemical Bloom 2000
  • Materials weather, digital thermometer, microprocessor, custom electronics, servo-motor, voltage rectifier, copper anodes, electrolyte, titanium, steel, alligator clips, wire, fluorescent lights, Plexiglas, glass, aluminum, wood, rubber gloves, protective goggles and the weekly help of a gallery assistant.
  • Exhibited Betty Rymer Gallery, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL