CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Does great art inspire great science? Do great scientists make great art? Ask any LabCentral resident those questions during Nobel laureate Wally Gilbert’s 68-piece retrospective digital-photography exhibit at Gallery 1832 — and you’ll get a resounding “yes!” LabCentral is Greater Boston’s premier coworking laboratory launchpad for high-potential life-science startups. The show is on through April 9, 2018. An artist reception and talk will be held March 20, 2018, from 4:30 to 7 pm; (talk slated to begin at 5:30).

The exhibit, which spans all three exhibition spaces of LabCentral’s Gallery 1832, includes some of Gilbert’s earliest work taken with a two-megapixel camera that he carried with him during his travels, such as “Marzipan Tangerine – Sicily, 2002/2009” and “Gear #3 – Warsaw, 2006.” In those, he plays with the scale, color, and surface, blowing up the images very large to create abstractions, but the original item is still recognizable. The more-recent pieces (e.g. “Fanlights — Blue” and “Fanlights — Red” are 60 x 40 inches), are highly abstract. Gilbert describes his approach for creating these as akin to a science experiment: based either on a photograph or on a drawing, he builds them up piece by piece as forms on the computer until he finds something he likes. Then, keeping a copy, he goes on to see how else he can modify it.

“The response from residents and visitors has been tremendous,” says Shazia Mir, curator of Gallery 1832 and events and operations associate at LabCentral. “Of course, Wally is legend with this crowd as the ‘daddy of DNA’ — his work is the underpinning of so much of what goes on here — it’s such a thrill on that basis alone. But people are responding to the work itself — the color and power is what gets their creative juices flowing.”

Gilbert (who will turn 86 on March 21) has made many significant contributions to biology, including being the first to propose the existence of introns and exons and the RNA world hypothesis, and making major breakthroughs in elucidating the mechanism of mRNA transcription and translation. He developed one of the first methods for sequencing DNA, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1980. Gilbert, a pioneer in biotechnology, co-founded Myriad Genetics and Biogen. He currently spends his time as a professional photographer and has had more than 50 solo exhibitions around the world.

Commenting on his exhibit at LabCentral, Gilbert said, “I’ve been a physicist, a biologist, an academic, an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, and an artist — it seems fitting to celebrate my birthday with this exhibition here at LabCentral, which brings all these difference disciplines together, and more.” On his move from science to art, Gilbert said, “For me the transition from scientist to artist was hardly a transition at all — I’ve always been driven by a curiosity about the world — it’s really just a change of medium and focus. In science, I was searching for new facts about biology and of life that were beautiful and true. In science, the search has a larger society context in that our experiments must be able to be reproduced and built upon. I approach my art in much the same way as I did my science. It’s also a search for what is true and beautiful; except in art, the emphasis is on the beauty and its effect on the individual viewer.”

To learn more about the artist’s reception on March 20, 2018, visit the now showing page on the LabCentral website. The public is welcome to visit the exhibition. Viewing is by appointment. For further details contact Shazia Mir at 617-863-3650.

About Gallery 1832
LabCentral at 700 Main Street boasts two floors of linear gallery halls, nestled within a labyrinth of whitewashed laboratory space, as well as a third gallery space at LabCentral 610. It hosts a carefully curated rotation of local artists every two months. While some posit that science and art are polar opposites, Gallery 1832 challenges this notion, highlighting how artists’ and scientists’ similarities far outweigh their differences. Subscribing to the belief that a constantly changing environment and exposure to new perspectives is beneficial to the mind, the gallery space offers provocative and beautiful work to provide residents and visitors new avenues to find inspiration in the space around them and perhaps help them expand out of their comfort zones to find new, creative approaches to problem solving.

About LabCentral (www.labcentral.org; twitter @labcentral)
LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory workspace in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub, designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. We offer everything young companies need to begin lab operations immediately upon move-in and propel their science forward faster and more cost-efficiently. This includes: beautifully designed, fully permitted lab and office space, first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, peer learning and networking opportunities, an expert speaker series — as well as critical access to potential funders and industry partners. A private, nonprofit institution, our first site opened in 2013, with support from our real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Roche, and Triumvirate Environmental. To accommodate demand for growing startups, we expanded our original site to double the original size in the fall of 2017, and, with support from Pfizer, opened LabCentral 610 at the end of the year. We now have capacity to serve a total of ~450 scientists and entrepreneurs in about 70 companies across our two-building campus. In 2017, we also added the LabCentral Learning Lab for STEM programming to help inspire the next generation of science entrepreneurs.

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Caroline Grossman
LabCentral
(781) 771-5579
cgrossman@labcentral.org