In a physical sense, Victoria Wagner’s abstract compositions inhabit perceptual space, vibrational color relationships and craft. Of this, she blames her formative years spent
in the high Nevada desert in a reservation town where light was sharp and dramatic, the mountains governed the atmosphere and the sky commanded more peripheral vision than one is capable of perceiving. Conceptually, her research combines historical and contemporary pursuits of knowledge that run the gamut from interplanetary exploration to spiritual transcendence and has found great inspiration in the writings of cosmonauts, indigenous memoirists, industrial designers, mystics, arborists, social anthropologists and archaeologists.
In her dimensional paintings and objects, Victoria ponders questions of our nature within the greater backdrop of nature. Questioning morality within the natural world, cognitive and physical flexibility in regards to atmospheric, industrial, political and emotional change. She remains darkly optimistic, continuing to scale her color scheme, materiality and mark-making to meet the need for an elastic approach to a planet that is redefining its limits. She is inspired by the clarity and boldness of people that live in reverence of the land, sea and cosmos, but are also committed to innovations and technology. That tension between seeming opposite notions allows her influences to be equally dispersed through the era and design politics of the 1970 voyage of the Apollo 14 (resulting in the transcendent interstellar experiences and conclusions of astronaut and noetic scientist, Edgar Mitchell) and indigenous basket weaving patterns, forms, ritual and reclamation.
Making the connection between the infinite nature of the cosmos, our physical fragility and boundless emotional landscape, Wagner’s work and practical research marry the
esoteric, mystic, natural, mysterious and future possible. The latent and coded narrative that each material brings to mind, activates our relationship to natural
resources, industrialization and cosmology. Her minimal yet unrestrained compositions (whether canvas, panel, found wood, ceramic or aluminum) combine recognizable
geometries and color dynamic through natural, synthetic and industrial materials, layering the surface like a bold and complicated narrative in which one is often
implicated by their own reflection in the pieces.
spectral paintings and sculptures.
My eye generally and naturally tends toward tessellation and pattern, seeking a rhythm that mimics regular pulse. On the one hand, visual order provides a place for the senses to rest, while color relationships create problems for the brain to solve. I like this simultaneity.
There is something confusing to the senses in combinations that vacillate between interval and tone, allowing for optical engagement and a perceptual unpredictability.
White space rushing….like moving quickly past a picket fence that appears to pulsate in rhythmic visual beats. I imagine deep space being very much like this, an interpretive time signature, vibrating and arching indeterminately.
Every painting begins with an inquiry, usually very simple and related to a gradient journey. I ask the paint to dictate the measurement from one tone to another across spectrum. The spectrum is generally limited by the scale of the paper. I keep a clean white space between each stage sothat it can be clearly viewed, a visual marker of each stage as completed. Gouache is the most matte paint available with a full range of strongly pigmented hues with none of the visual tricks that can result from the addition of luster or sheen. Yet, somehow, there still exists a vibration.
The sculptures resulted from my reading of two books, The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer and The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.
Both pseudoscientific works that examine sentience among carbon-based life forms and human revelation, practical and metaphysical. Both books forced a recognition in my life-of my own personal reverence for the trees being downed in the forest surrounding my studio. What has been the result of that long and short period of processing have been small jewel-like sculptures from scavenged wood that are cut to reveal growth rings and then preserved and embossed with gradient spectrums. Perhaps partly my due diligence to the tree and partly counting time.
order and form.
I see the painting or the object in my mind as a pure form, perfect and without blemish moving from one tone to another in a ceaseless vibration as it dazzles the eye and awakens the senses. However the reality of creating that piece, in rubbing up against all that is earthly, becomes somewhat imperfect, responsive and non-archival. It becomes a part of a cadence of physical actions that need to be performed, tasks that love to be executed, part of my domestic fabric and a reflection of less remarkable daily activites..
I am interested in visual order that has the capacity to become more than the sum of it’s parts, arrays of visual experience that result from remarkably simple and subtle variations to tone, gradient, cadence and pacing.
As if that which had previously been invisible consented to reveal itself within the spaces between what is actually seen.
What would it offer?
Perhaps, a small perceptual rupture, that would appear puzzling…unencumbered by ordinary limitations of sight, opening up to a feeling of complete presence…a soft state of attention.
I must have been around seven years old when I heard that my uncle could float. I was told that the form of yoga that he practiced, transcendental meditation, allowed him to hover a few inches above the ground, like an angel. He was an arborist and it seemed feasible that the trees might have also lent some of their focus to him in order to accomplish levitation.
Miracles are common in the Catholic tradition.
In the desert, the ladies down the road practiced a form of spiritual questioning known as table tapping. They would regularly ask me to place my hands at the pivot. I was a clear conduit, in touch with the Other, they would say. The table bounced out invisible wisdom, like a neighbor knocking on the ceiling, and provided the guidance that they had hoped for.
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, a trained engineer and scientist, returned from a moon walk with Apollo 14 to declare consciousness as the deepest mystery of the universe. As certain as any mathematical equation, it came to him that the planet was part of an enormous and interconnected living system. Mental, intellectual focus can alter our physical world.
If mystery is the moment of suspension that can lead to belief, faith must be the desire to sustain the supernatural force of the unknown or unanswerable.
My work deals with observation and mystery. I am fascinated with unlikely material pairings, Within the familiar arc of a line, a simple form, the pleasant cadence of common geometric shape, I encourage an experience that is slightly removed from the history of it’s making…a process that is partially revealed, yet simultaneously suspended, enigmatic, frail.