We are pleased to welcome celebrated artist Merrill Wagner back to Traver Gallery for a concise exhibition of paintings. An important figure in abstract and minimalist art, Wagner works in a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, time-based projects, book works, and sculptural interventions. This exhibition features a curated selection of steel, slate, and plexiglass works created over four decades, highlighting the breadth of Wagner’s explorations in abstraction and materiality.
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Wagner works in a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, time-based projects, book works and sculptural interventions. Her work aligns itself with both the principles of Minimalism, and the ethics of an alchemist. She manipulates materials to make works that are about the passing of time and material transformation.
A big departure from her oil on canvas works of the 60’s, the tape works from the 70’s showcase Wagner’s unique process of using tape (cloth, masking, Gaffer’s, Permacel) to transfer oil pastel pigments onto plexiglass. Tiffany Bell explains that “having used tape as an incidental tool in her painting, she became fascinated with it as something to mark on. Her preoccupation with tape led to a consideration of process and the role of chance in the creative procedure. She started applying bands of tape to paper (…) and marking the resulting surfaces all over with chalk. A second layer of tape was then layered on top, removed, and affixed to Plexiglas. Seen from the opposite side, traces of the original drawing were thus incorporated into a new context.”
Wagner is an artist indicative of her time and place. Robert Storr summarizes, “Wagner, materialist, formalist, empiricist, and poet of the given and the accidental as well of the systematically altered is, in this every respect, an all-American artist to the core.”