Sundaram Tagore New York is pleased to present new work by American painter Merrill Wagner. This exhibition, featuring three distinct bodies of work dominated by rich hues of red, yellow and blue, marks Wagner’s return to pure abstraction. Her geometric wall reliefs made of salvaged steel and linen—inspired by the negative spaces in leftover metal scraps—evoke forms found in nature. From the patterns that result from cooling hot sheets of steel with water to sealing existing irregularities with paint, Wagner both encourages and preserves the effects of the elements.
Merrill Wagner is a celebrated artist noted for her dedication to conveying the romanticism of the great American landscape. She is known for her use of contrasting color, geometric abstraction, as well as the balance of man versus nature and sculpture versus painting. No matter how varied, concise, or stripped bare Wagner’s pieces become, the landscape remains.
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Merrill Wagner moved to New York City in the late 1950s, after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. Inspired by the minimalist Eva Hesse in the late 1960s, Wagner began to experiment with diverse media. By the 1980s she was painting on stone, steel, and slate, focusing on the unique nuances of surfaces. She has held teaching positions at Princeton University and Parsons School of Design. In 1989, Wagner received a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship Grant.
Wagner’s work has been included in more than forty individual and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. She has been a member of American Abstract Artists since 1976 and served as its president from 1982 to 1985. Merrill Wagner’s work is in the Bellevue Arts Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum, Washington; the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts; Chase Manhattan Bank and Goldman Sachs, New York; and the Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington.