Crystal Wagner’s installations are a combination of printmaking, cut paper, and cheap, dollar store objects. Her work has a very organic feel to it, as if we are about to walk through a luscious forest or happen upon a moss patch. This isn’t surprising, as Wagner has spent a lot of time immersed in nature, spending extended periods in Yellowstone National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. The large, site specific works convey the awe-inspiring beauty we experience in places like Old Faithful.
Using items like police caution tape, chicken wire and table cloths, the artist crafts multi-layered and complex forms that occupy walls, floors, and everyday spaces. I’m reminded of green wall technology, in which moss grows decoratively on walls and gardens. It is not only good for the environment, but visually dazzles. This is much like Wagner’s work, which uses what already exists in our world to create a calming, tranquil environment.
Wagner has a formal education in printmaking, and this training works to her advantage. She is able to refine her installations by adding intricate prints of forms that look like vines and petals. It contrasts nicely with her construction, which focuses more on structure and building volume. These are the heart of Wagner’s installation, and tell us the most about the essence of her work.
Matt Jacobs is an artist living and working in Kansas City, Missouri. The thing that I really enjoy about his work is his sense of play that comes through not only in the titles but the actual materials used to create his pieces such as inflatable toys, tic tacs, buckets, and brightly colored enamels. In many pieces Jacobs uses juxtaposing materials almost as a means to test the limits of the materials itself. An example of this is in his “Don’t Worry. I Won’t Hurt You. I Only Want You to Have Some Fun” in which he balanced cinder blocks 9 feet high and stuffed pool toys through the openings implying gregarious ornamental decoration of a fun day at the pool. Jacobs is the master of balancing objects by shape, form, and color. He has a great archive of studio photos on his website which is worth a look through, as well as his past installations and drawings.
Danish-born Erik A. Frandsen has studied ceramics, sculpture, and graphics in many locations including Greece, Italy, and France. But now Frandsen resides in his native country of Denmark, where he has created many installations that intertwine many different components. His work is known for being created in multiple layers. There is the layer that are appealing to the viewer at first and then repel the viewer after a second glance. The construction of his installations happen when he combines a drawing or a piece on canvas with lights, rubber tires, or boxes. And in one piece he even uses butter.