By Bonny Zanardi
San Mateo Times Correspondent
THE 1870 Art Center Gallery is hosting "Dances With Shadows," an exhibition of metal sculptures by Feng Jin, through Sept. 20.
Born in Harbin, China, Jin graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing with a Bachelor of Arts in sculpture. He lives in the Bay Area and works in a variety of metals, creating both figural and abstract works at his Dream Catchers Arts studio in Alameda.
A full-time sculptor, Jin often creates pieces using a technique he calls "open-minded sculpting," meaning with no preconceived design. He works sheet metal by hand cutting, rolling, bending, hammering, grinding and welding. The finish might be highly polished, textural or natural.
The sculptures on view at gallery are made of steel rods or wire, which he bends into curves and welds together, then adds a black finish. He starts with drawings from a live model and sculpts the form in different clays before beginning work with the metal rods.
Jin says his original inspiration for these shadow sculptures came from Chinese painting. The idea to use an interplay of light with the sculptures is based on the traditional Chinese shadow-play art form.
In his artist's statement, he writes that "good sculpture must have its own soul" and he sees his work as an intimate dialogue "between a human and the boundless strength of metal."
You can meet the artist at a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 29 at the gallery, at 1870 Ralston Ave., Belmont. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Call 750-595-9679 or visit www.1870artcenter.org.