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.