Crystal Wagner, “Synesthesia” at Hashimoto Contemporary

by Admin on 03/14/2014

Georgia-based artist Crystal Wagner’s massive, colorful, and deeply textural installations are at first creative combinations of printmaking, cut paper, and common materials. As the title suggests, her current solo show “Synesthesia” at San Francisco’s Hashimoto Contemporary prompts an investigation into how audiences interact with artwork by questioning perception within a holistic aesthetic experience that Wagner’s installations offer — whether it is merely through the eyes colors are perceived, or through touch that textures are understood and sensation is stirred. Multi-layered and complex organic forms spilling over walls and floors contrasts with the structure’s artificial materiality, including a color palette of hot pinks and neon greens and yellows, Mylar, and disposable plastic tablecloths. This contradiction of apprehension and sensation, as well as material with its manifestation, result in a feeling of familiarity and yet unknown, an unsettling yet pleasurable experience.

By combining two-dimensional and three-dimensional elements Wagner creates vibrant, multi-textured sculptures whose tensions are at their apex, at once reaching out to the ceiling and rigidly constrained. She fortifies the delicate, almost diaphonous white crepe paper into a writhing monster. Perhaps it is her formal education in printmaking that provides a refinement to her installations’ structure and volume. Accents of intricate prints of flora and fauna: images of vines, petals, and fantastic, radiant birds complete the immersive process. During the opening reception, audiences stopped to photograph themselves in this novel world, illustrating how successfully her environment — its colors, shapes, and scale — provided a space they wished to wholly envelop themselves. Wagner’s works encased in custom-made terrariums filled with intricate careening configurations, like slices of an organism under a microscope for scientific inquiry, offer panoptic views of the extraordinary worlds she creates in the round.

Crystal Wagner, “Synesthesia” will be at Hashimoto Contemporary 804 Sutter Street through March 29, 2014. test