WALNUT CREEK – Crystal Wagner’s Flux – an art installation that dominated the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, California with its organic, free-flowing forms last summer – featured scraps of ‘birthday-party tablecloths’ fastened to an armature of chicken wire. It towered over the viewer, creating a dramatic contrast in scale. Onlookers were left to stand, marvel and be overshadowed by the meandering landscape-like structure and its waves of vibrant colour.
Every inch of the room, from skylights to floor, seemed to be filled with the American artist’s undulating sculptural volume. The way in which Flux intertwined with the curves and grooves of the gallery made it appear almost as if installation and setting were morphing into a single being. Wagner says the piece embodied a ‘metamorphosis’ as it reached towards the sunlight while lulling into a quieter register within the shadows.
A unique approach to combining 2D and 3D forms, unorthodox materials and hybrid printing methods has resulted in Wagner’s installations being highly sought after by the curators of exhibition spaces. Starting from a mere gesture on paper, she works by simultaneously drawing and sculpting, expressing a particular fascination for the recontextualisation of everyday items. Rejecting consumer culture and questioning the disposable nature of the modern landscape, Wagner recycles obsessively. The plastic strips that went into Flux were over three years old, having been used several times, and we’re sure to spot them again in future projects.