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Crystal Wagner

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Crystal Wagner

I follow in a long tradition of artists working with ideas about the metaphysical world, about the greater human experience, and about the underlying biological capabilities of our perceptive knowledge.

At my core, I am a relativist. I value the phrase, truth relativism, as it relates to the doctrine stating that there are no absolute truths and I appreciate the fickle and abstract nature of knowledge. I often refer to the 20th century philosopher, Michael Oakshott, and a quote by him that communicates his comprehension of the human experience. He explains that, “Human beings are what they understand themselves to be; they are composed entirely of beliefs about themselves and about the world they inhabit.”

I am interested in the idea of ‘science fiction’ and consider its’ meaning not as a fantastic explanation of what could be, but instead as it relates to what actually is. A world of understandings based on one proposed fictive interpretation after another. Never really yielding anything true or absolute In a way, humanities biological utility offers only an artificial rendition of what exists in the world instead of a concrete definition, and I find myself seduced by terms like; interpretation, artificial, abstraction, synthetic, and fabrication when I regard the complexity of it all.

As I work to fabricate through drawings and materials what seem to be imagined spaces, forms; both sculptural and two dimensional, the micro/macro; the elements that make up my images operate like propositions in that they lend themselves to interpretation. As abstractions their executions reference schematic illustrations, scientific diagrams, and architectural models while being organic. I discover in the work that the imagined is just as relevant as the real and that during inception the work takes on validity through its fabrication, fiction or not.

I am interested in the intersections between synthetic and organic, real and unreal, abstract and concrete and in that way am intrigued by the forms and concepts associated with Utopia. It is during fabrication that the myriad of materials and imagery fuse together to create from many different components, one. This utopian idea of synthesis permeates both the form and materiality of the work and in “Fabrication”, the pieces subsist as intricate and elegant displays of the artificial as organic. I recognize the blatantly synthetic nature of the pieces themselves and through the use of materials exploit of it to both the beauty and absurdity of people’s ability to fabricate their own understandings of the world they live in.

“Fabrication” is poetic, lyrical, and colorful. It is also artificial, synthetic, and abstract. Immanuel Kant suggests, “We cannot use evidence of our senses or thoughts to draw absolutely reliable conclusions about the ultimate nature of reality.” “Fabrication” is an exploration of what we can do and that is create through our own ability to fabricate; an elaborate, delicate and intricate system of knowledge and understanding efficient and beautiful enough to survive.

See more of her work here:

Crystal Wagner was born on February 27, 1982 in Baltimore, Maryland. It was in Maryland where she began her exploration in art by drawing imaginative birds. Thirteen years later she moved to Pine Grove Pennsylvania where painting and creative writing became her primary focus as an artist.

Crystal attended Keystone College, a private liberal arts school in La Plume Pennsylvania where she earned her Associate Degree in Fine Art, receiving awards for both her prose/fiction writing and also her work as an artist. During her time there, she spent four months in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, experiencing the diverse terrain of the elevated landscape, studying and drawing from nature in the backcountry.

Ms. Wagner then moved to Atlanta where she attended The Atlanta College of Art. After two more years with a double concentration in both printmaking and sculpture, she earned her Bachelor Degree in Fine Art. In 2004 she was the recipient of the undergraduate Southern Graphics Council Fellowship for her achievements in printmaking.

Crystal recently completed her MFA at The University of Tennessee as a teaching associate. In 2006 she participated in a month long Artist-in-Residency in Poznañ, Poland. Her work has been shown both internationally and nationally. In 2007, she was a Visiting Artist at Kansas City Art Institute, where she co-coordinated a week-long workshop where the students utilized the printed multiple as a way to create wearable art ad costumes. The work produced by the students during the workshop led the “Print Parade” at the SGC Conference in the Spring. Also during that year she self-published her novel, “Crimson Sky”. In 2007 she was a printers’ assistant to Koichi Yamamoto at the Frontiers in Printmaking Conference in Normal, IL. Also during that year she was awarded the Terry Burnett Award for her overall achievements in fine art at the University of Tennessee.

In Spring of 2008, Crystal earned her Master of Fine Art degree from the University of Tennessee where she was a graduate teaching associate. Her work has been accepted into numerous national juried exhibitions and she had work shown both internationally and nationally. In March of 2008, she was Visiting Artist at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. In July of 2008 she was awarded the Hearst Fellowship at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass, CO. Currently you can find her large sculptural form “Conversion” on exhibit at the Knoxville Museum of Art in Knoxville, Tennessee as a piece of their pernmanant collection. For the month of July 2008, she will be at the Joshua Tree National Park Residency, in Joshua Tree National Park, CA where she was awarded a month-long Artist-in-Residency. Other up-coming shows in 2008-2009 include: “Fresh” AVA Gallery, Chattanooga, TN 7/11/08-7/26/08, “The Organics” Laredo Community College, Loredo, TX, 03/12/09-04/24/08 and “Prints by Crystal Wagner” Arkansas State University, Jonesborro AR, 9/1/08-9/30/08.

Crystal recently accepted a year-long Printmaking-Residency at the John Talleur Printshop in the Lawrence Art Center, Lawrence KS which commences on August 1, 2008


Written by admin

January 21, 2010 at 1:05 am

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