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Bloomfield, NJ, United States, 2015/09/11 - A team in life and in work, The Power of Two, a new show at the Garrison Art Center, features never-before-seen work created individually and collaboratively by this unstoppable design duo - GarrisonArtCenter.org.
Russel Wright has been hailed as one of the most influential U.S. designers of the early twentieth century. But this visionary artist who pioneered the idea of “good design for everyone,” and cemented the groundwork for today’s lifestyle branding, did not do it alone.
A new show, The Power of Two, on display now through November 8 at The Riverside Galleries at Garrison Art Center (Garrison, NY), features rare and never-before-seen work created individually and collaboratively by Mary Einstein Wright (1904-1952) and Russel Wright (1904-1976).
As illustrated by the works on view, their well-paired talents combined to be far more than the sum of two parts. Together they pioneered a sea change in millions of American homes, drawing on Russel’s artistic vision and commitment to the fusion of modern design and domestic practicality, as well as Mary’s unique sales skills and innovative talent as a marketing strategist.
In addition, the exhibition includes fine art drawings by Mary from the early 1920s that have been seen by few and never exhibited, as well as stage and costume designs by Russel from the same period, also not shown before. Rare works designed by each artist and as a pair, plus a line of dishware designed by Mary, offer a unique look at their aesthetic kinship.
While art and design experts may disagree on where the line between the husband and wife team is drawn, the general consensus is that Mary’s talent in the area of marketing was instrumental in the unparalleled success of Russel’s design work. What’s more, as illustrated in the show, Mary’s work as a young artist shows much promise. In a letter (February 25, 1926) to her aunt, Alfred Steiglitz said of Mary’s work,“The drawings are astounding. The paintings extraordinary.” A close study of the small works indicate that most if not all were completed before her marriage to Russel. Given the relatively short rise to Russel’s success as a designer one can surmise that Mary was quite busy marketing the numerous design lines in dishware, furnishings and more.
The Power of Two will remain open for viewing through November 8, 2015. The Wright exhibition is curated by Carinda Swann and Maryann Syrek and is made possible through generous loans from Ann Wright, Laura and Gary Maurer among others and with consultation from Allison Cross, Director of Manitoga: Russel Wright Design Center.
The Riverside Galleries at Garrison Art Center, 23 Garrison’s Landing, Garrison, NY 10524, are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm. For more information about this and other exhibitions and programs at Garrison Art Center please visit garrisonartcenter.org or call Executive Director Carinda Swann at 845-424-3960.