June 26 - August 28, 2016
The Bedford has commissioned internationally renowned artist Crystal Wagner to create a large-scale, immersive piece that uses the entire gallery. Her colorful, mind-blowing installations are built from ordinary materials—primarily chicken wire and vinyl disposable tablecloths—that appear to grow organically within the gallery.
Wagner does not create sketches or plans for her installations; instead, she responds to the height, size and shape of the physical site. The immediacy of her experience contributes to the elastic capacity of her work, and the swirling, imaginative shapes she builds expand or contract depending on the venue.
Wagner responded to the Bedford Gallery’s round architectural shape and seized the opportunity to grow her sculptural forms up through the large skylights and into the theater lobby. Her surreal and lumbering forms appear comfortably situated and nestled into the space, as if they’ve been there forever. She intentionally employs scale in her work, building installations where the viewer is dramatically dwarfed and over-shadowed by an enormous, landscape-like sculpture. Upon entering an installation, the viewer is surrounded by an explosion of bright color and texture protruding from the walls and ceiling and bubbling up from the floor.
Wagner is inspired by micro and macro imagery found in nature and lets her sense of wonder lead her working process of creating shape and form. Her installations stem from time spent exploring the natural world as well as her concern with our tendency to disconnect from it: “In my own experience with the world, I have a deep rooted understanding of what plastic feels like, of what man made materials and spaces feel like, and tend to perceive the natural world through a very exotic lens.” Wagner's work is anchored in her anxiety about the compromised state of the natural world, yet her installations, brimming with a spectacular display of positive energy, joy and color, continue to bring smiles of delight to her audience. It is this dual-edged dialogue about the power of art and nature within her work that she engages her audience.
—Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs
Be sure to check out Crystal Wagner's exhibition Microcosm at Hashimoto Contemporary June 30 - July 23