Merrill Wagner / Large Flower Small Owl / 2006 / Paint on steel / 87.75 x 82.25″ / sundharamtagore.com
I checked out this show this past week. I wasn’t familiar with Merrill Wagner’s work, but I loved how she painted with the steel. It’s interesting, Richard Serra’s work makes you really feel the presence and the weight of the steel, whereas with Merrill’s work I found myself enchanted with the surface, the rust, the marks left by the heat of forging, etc. There was a delicacy and lightness about the steel.
Wagner’s oeuvre explores the possibility of steel and slate as a painterly surface. Wagner begins with found materials, either die-cut scraps of steel, or pieces of slate, and transforms them into abstract landscapes or flowers. She imbues the surface with an unexpected softness yet still maintains an architectural form. Painted directly from nature, her forms allude less overtly to geometry than to a structural topography. Her assemblages are suspended by magnets giving them a floating quality. Her innovative utilization of the dichotomy between the softness of the pigments and her subject and the rigidity of her surface has earned her the acclaim of the art world.
Merrill Wagner @ Sundharam Tagore, 547 West 27th Street, through 10/15Tags: contemporary abstract art, abstract art, art world, cat art paintings, steel sculpture, sundaram
October 6, 2008 No Comments