This art could make you dizzy. Gideon Weisz works in steel, Clara Wainwright works in fabric, and together their creations produce an amusement park for the eyes. As guests of honor at the September 22nd Spirit Awards benefitting Maud Morgan Arts, both artists have shows on display at the arts center throughout the month. This unusual exhibition pairing takes visitors on a spin around Weisz’s Mobius rings, fractals and figure 8 knots before sending the well-swirled viewers splashing into the pools of color in Wainwright’s quilts.
Wainwright’s colors get their brilliance from many hands and many hearts. She frequently uses her artistic process to connect people. She has helped over 50 community groups cut and paste fabric into self-portraits, and she brings individuals together to make art in response to tragedies. Recently, Wainwright designed “Mending Boston” and invited friends and neighbors of the Boston Marathon Bombing victims to complete the stitching. Even when she is working alone, current events are never far from her mind: surveillance and drones serve as subject matter for some of her latest quilts. One quilt inventories different types of drones, and Wainwright compares the figures to “colorful insects.” Every year she makes a quilt about her garden, and this year’s “Snake/Dark Garden” demonstrates her mastery of texture and pattern with patchwork blossoms dotting sand-hued fabric surrounded by sea green stripes and checks. The whimsy is in the details: a black snack seems to slither through a large flower, and a few staid rows of fish, as orderly as encyclopedia entries, decorate the edge.
While Weisz has been influenced by Wainwright’s artistic sensibility, and although he worked closely with Wainwright’s late husband, kinetic sculptor William Wainwright, Weisz’s art is uniquely his own. Weisz’s sculpture and jewelry, inspired by mathematical puzzles and molecular structures, gently tie the viewer’s brain up in knots. Whereas Wainwright’s quilts focus on shapes filled with a multitude of contiguous hues, Weisz’s sculpture emphasizes lines and the spaces between them. He uses the language of science and technology, crafting messages in binary code and amino acids to grace his jewelry, and he forges metallic representations of mathematical concepts. His “5 Level Alexander’s Horned Sphere” represents a subset of an infinite fractal that, according to Weisz’s website, can be “continuously deformed (in the 4th dimension) into a solid sphere.” A wild ride indeed.
Clara Wainwright’s “Inventories and Other Things” is on display at the Chandler Gallery and Gideon Weisz’s “In Motion/In Progress” is on display at the Johnson Family Entranceway Gallery at Maud Morgan Arts from September 5 through October 11. Maud Morgan Arts is a program under the umbrella of the Agassiz Baldwin Community, a private, nonprofit organization with a forty-year history of quality programs and services in the Cambridge community. Maud Morgan Arts comprises a full arts program of classes and workshops for all ages, the Chandler Gallery, and a collection of original art by noted artist and Cambridge resident Maud Morgan (1903-1999). The agency works to reflect the diversity of talents of the community, bringing people together to make art, share art, and support visual arts education.