Nick Dong Orchestrating Transcendence Through Materials
By Lou Fancher
Oakland artist Nick Dong unites the joy of commitment and the grief of eternal separation in his latest endeavor, The Mendsmith Project. By forging the wedding rings of a friend whose husband had died, his metalsmith and jewelry skills create a single, tributary object; their love both tragic and transcendent, aligned and soldered in permanent embrace. Offering the free-of-charge “mending” service at Mercury Twenty Gallery during the project’s run, Dong’s multi-disciplinary practice integrates experiential participation and promises healing. Which speaks to the reason his skilled engineering and fine design earns accolades — in 2012, he was named a “40 under 40” artists by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, among other honors he has received. There is resonance, spirituality, simplicity, and occasionally humor found by Dong in sturdy materials — most often glass, metal, wood.