By James Foritano
CAMBRIDGE, Ma — Charlie Baker, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ very tall governor, is standing at a podium in the lobby of LabCentral, deep in the heart of the Kendall Square Innovation District and giving his bipartisan blessing to LabCentral’s new 42,000 square foot expansion in Cambridge, Mass.
I’m here as an emissary of Artscope because this expansion is about more than feet and inches, more than new shared lab space for worthy startups. It’s also about art, and in this instance, specifically “Gallery 1832,” which stretches from one end to the other of a long white corridor just upstairs from this ceremonious lobby.
“Wait a minute!” you might think, laboratories fitted out with the latest equipment to enable the inspiration of scientific, of entrepreneurial minds while art is banished to a corridor!
Perhaps I misspoke. Let’s say instead a busy “lane” for very busy minds striding from one resource to another along a configuration that encourages the serendipitous meeting of different ways of thinking about our next common future.
While I’m talking to one of the inaugural artists of this upstairs corridor/gallery, Ingrid Scheibler, our tete-a-tete becomes a pool of spectators. The consensus of their broad smiles is that this art is “bright and modern” enough to catch the eye, stop their forward progress — to “eye” the work and its inventor with curiosity and appreciation.
Monika’s name tag pronounces her the founder and CEO of her own company. Not someone to linger shyly in any background, Monika (Weber, of Fluid-Screen, which had developed a test for dangerous bacteria) steps forward to state that she is inspired by the “interaction of the colors and shapes” and then leads us, docent-like, to a pair of her two favorite paintings.
Shazia Mir, the curator of newly expanded Gallery 1832, must feel gratified to see the bubbling synergy between artistic and scientific minds. Not long ago Shazia was combing digital files hoping to find something bright and modern…and more.
Ingrid Schiebler, the artist, feels also that she has been handling her abstract biomorphic shapes long enough that they co-exist with each other and their backgrounds both easefully and strenuously – in other words they bear the long looking that docents, curators everywhere are beginning to suggest to their audiences.
Long windows in the labs lining Gallery 1832 enable this looking. Another scientist on an earlier day suggested to the artist that looking at “his” painting helped him to focus when he came to a crossroads in the lab.
Come yourself and look at the 17 abstracts by Ingrid Scheibler and Nedret Andre’s abstract land- and seascapes inspired by the life within seagrass beds — inaugurating Gallery 1832’s new upstairs gallery – open to the public on weekdays.
Don’t be surprised if an upstart, startup scientist knocks on his/her window and waves you aside. You have as much right as the scientific establishment to stand your ground… and enjoy!
(“Nedret Andre and Ingrid Scheibler: Beyond the Tangible” remains on view through December 10 at Gallery 1832 at LabCentral, 700 Main St., Cambridge, Massachusetts; the show’s artist reception takes place on Thursday, October 2 from 5-7 p.m. For gallery times, call (617) 863-3650.)