Combining the material experiments of minimalism with the gestural qualities of abstract expressionism, Merill Wagner unites natural landscape painting with unorthodox materials. Wagner arrived in New York in the early 1960s and moved away from conventional painting after Eva Hesse encouraged her to explore new materials. By the 1980s, Wagner had started painting directly on scraps of steel, evoking natural forms in her minimal compositions and shaped forms. In her rectangular works, Wagner abstracts landscape into horizontal bands of color, whereas she reduces natural forms, such as trees and flowers, into sharp geometric forms in her shaped pieces. This geometry is characteristic of modernist innovations by artists like Alexander Calder.