Symbiotic Spheres: The Interlocking Worlds of Glass, Science and Art

Symbiotic Spheres: The Interlocking Worlds of Glass, Science and Art


MILLVILLE, NJ (May 4, 2018) – Curated by Brooklyn artist Benjamin Wright, the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts is entwined with a new contemporary exhibition titled Symbiotic Spheres: The Interlocking Worlds of Glass, Science and Art, open now through December 30, 2018. Twenty-eight diverse artists are represented in this exhibition, drawing inspiration from across a wide spectrum of scientific and artistic inquiries. Their artworks allow visitors to explore the role of creativity endemic to both science and art while showcasing glass as a medium that provides a challenge to their perceived divide.

From the exquisite precision of scientific glass apparatus to light bending optics of color, the artists have employed a variety of approaches that take advantage of the unique properties of glass. Their eclectic experiments, inventions, mixed-media sculptures, site-specific installations, and the surprising results of their meticulous research are weaved in and out of manicured cases and museum rooms. Participating artists include: Rik Allen, Lanny Bergner, Hugo Bastidas, Robert C. Beck and Sarah Max Beck, Dennis Briening (display curator of The South Jersey Scientific Glass Industry installation), Jeremy Bert, Ian Burns, Dr. Jane Cook, Elizabeth Demaray, Karen Donnellan, John Hogan, Jen Elek, Jessica Jane Julius, Nina Katchadourian, David King, Eve Andrée Laramée, Richard “Dick” Marquis, Stanislav Müller, Nate Riccuto, Anna Riley, Hiromi Takizawa, Leo Tecosky, Simon Klenell, Kim Thomas, Joe Upham, Zac Weinberg, and Bryan McGovern Wilson.

Within the exhibit is a scaled-down version of a sustainable and thriving aquaponics system titled “To Fetch a Pail of Water”, created by bio-artists Robert C. Beck and Sarah Max Beck, exploring what they believe art of the 22nd century could look like if we were to successfully adapt and turn our current toxic human nature into a beneficial relationship with our environment. In a collaboration between artists Elizabeth Demaray and Hugo Bastidas titled “The Endangered Species Recipe Book”, glass serving dishes from the Museum’s collection are paired with a series of oil paintings depicting old cooking recipes with extinct species; raising questions to what humans will be eating a hundred years from now. Richard “Dick” Marquis re-conceptualizes the ancient technique of murrini to produce a microscopic glass text of the Lord’s prayer, and Hiromi Takizawa creates an exotic foliage of glowing sunset hues that appears to be transplanted to its current position from another dimension.

Highlighted throughout the exhibit are suggested narratives and scientific categories to help understand the works of art, including glass, chemistry, color, biology, invention, and classification. However, there are no wrong answers when exploring. Like catalysts of curiosity, the suggested narratives and scientific principles are meant as prisms through which to rediscover the wonder and fun of the glass treasures and mysterious objects that fill the Museum.

WheatonArts is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Open July 4. For more information about WheatonArts, call 1-800-998-4552 or 856-825-6800, or visit online at

WheatonArts strives to ensure the accessibility of its exhibitions, events, and programs to all persons with disabilities. Please provide two weeks notice of additional needs. Patrons with hearing and speech disabilities may contact WheatonArts through the New Jersey Relay Service (TRS) 800-852-7899 or by dialing 711.

Funding for WheatonArts has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey Cultural Trust. WheatonArts receives general operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Division of Cultural Affairs in the New Jersey Department of State, and is supported in part by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism.

About Benjamin Wright
Ben Wright is an artist, thinker and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. His background in evolutionary biology figures strongly in his artwork, which delves deeply into the ever-evolving relationship between humans and their environment. His work has most recently been exhibited at the Center for Book Arts, WPA Architects Gallery and The Shelburne Museum with an upcoming major exhibition at BWA SiC gallery in Wroclaw, Poland. Curatorial projects included The New Classics at the Islip Art Museum, the 2017 New Glass Review published by Corning Museum, Pushing Buttons at UrbanGlass and Symbiotic Spheres at the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts. He has taught his unique approach to art making at numerous schools including Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, Ox Bow School of Art and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and abroad in Germany, Turkey, Australia, Denmark, Poland and Japan, and is currently the Director of Education at UrbanGlass.