Gallery News

Traver Gallery, 05.10.2012

Merrill Wagner: Recycle: Flowers and Fields

May/June 2012 at Traver Gallery – Seattle

Merrill Wagner: Recycle: Flowers and Fields

Exhibition Runs: May 17 through June 24, 2012

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 17, 2012


Merrill Wagner: Recycle: Flowers and Fields   

Traver Gallery – Seattle is pleased to exhibit the fourteenth solo exhibition by artist Merrill Wagner.  Recycle: Flowers and Fields presents a selection of the artist’s new works on steel and linen.  This new body of works on recycled and found steel includes the austere landscape abstractions for which she is best known, new abstract geometric compositions, and a series of abstract flower forms.  Also on exhibit is a small selection of intimate plein-air landscapes on linen.  

Continuing with her ongoing exploration of material, surface, and abstraction, Wagner’s work references the landscapes in which she resides.  Born in the Pacific Northwest, she maintains homes in New York City, rural Pennsylvania, and at the foot of Mount Rainier in Tacoma, Washington. Her works refer, physically and representationally, to these diverse settings, and her paintings are a record of her interactions with them. The material, salvaged from Pennsylvania’s industrial manufacturers, contrasts vividly with the bright hues and lively compositions drawn from the hues and forms of seasonal flora. Flowers and minimal landscapes like folded paper constructions capture essential aspects of the source yet do not rely overly much on their namesakes – they function both figuratively and as abstract compositions focused on rhythm, pattern and movement.

While her work is always connected to nature, Wagner is equally concerned with material.  Her paintings emphasize and embrace materiality, pulling the eye from brushy painted planes of color into subtle shifts and changes in the steel’s natural pigment and patina. The dynamic interplay between painted and unpainted sections enhances the bold strokes of the overall composition. The disparate elements – sourced from cast-off cuttings of industrial steel – combine to create an impression that the parts always belonged to the whole—embodiments of a natural, changing, world that is simultaneously quietly meditative and stridently urban. 

Exhibiting since the 1970’s, Wagner has held teaching positions across the nation including Parsons School of Design. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship Grant. Her work is held in major public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), Tacoma Art Museum (WA), Gemeente Museum, The Hague (Holland) and Microsoft Corporation (WA). 

High resolution images available upon request

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