The Positively Beautiful Magnet

Art with magnets: Claire Watkins's
Art with magnets: Claire Watkins's "Flock of Needles," at Fraser Gallery. (Fraser Gallery)
Saturday, January 21, 2006

· Though touted as explorations of art and technology, most all the works in the group show "Interface" rely on old-fashioned motors, not Pentium chips. Worth the trip is Claire Watkins's "Flock of Needles," an ode to magnetism by the 2004 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's acclaimed MFA sculpture program. In earlier works, Watkins's attraction to magnetism led her to incorporate moving magnets into paintings; a few examples of such overwrought artfulness are on view here. The recent "Flock of Needles" ditches affectation to expose the beauty of everyday materials and the laws of physics. Sewing needles threaded with red string bob in midair as they react to a rotating magnet. The work is as delicate as a spider's web, and as magical.

"Interface" at Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, Tuesday-Saturday

11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., to Feb. 8. Call 301-718-9651 or visit

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