Art  Zoller  Wagner
Realist Painting: Artist's Statement


Awe, Ecstasy, and the Sacred

My life and my work have been a search for ecstatic moments in which the sense of awe breaks into our consciousness. It's not difficult to experience awe. It happens frequently when I'm engaged in creative work, such as painting outdoors, developing photos, working with a model, or playing with a group of musicians. Awe can also strike us while talking with a stranger, driving down a highway, staring into a fire, reading a book, or participating in a class.

This experience of awe is the experience of the sacred. These holy moments come to us when we're open to wonder. The main requirement is that we not try to pull the same rabbit out of the same hat over and over. Inspiration can be understood as the work of "daimons," a Greek term which means "an attendant power or spirit." The daimons refuse to be routinized. They--and thus inspiration--tend to pop up in fresh places and in new ways.

Did I Ever Tell You About Dennis? sculpture

   Did I Ever Tell You
   About Dennis?
   plaster, cardboard box,

Some encounter the sacred in traditional religious paths. For me, creativity itself is a powerful and reliable path to the holy. After all, to be creative is to be open to the different, the new, or the forgotten and ignored.

Today we tend to assume that religion, spirituality, and creativity should be upbeat, bright, happy, positive experiences. This hasn't always been the case; previous generations understood "awe" to mean "terror" or "dread." Awe is an emotion which combines dread, veneration, and wonder.

My work honors the dark and painful as well as the bright and happy. Painful experiences can prod us toward maturation. In this way, failure, misery, and anguish can have positive effects. Some of my works are scenes from this dark ripening. Some are more like dancing on tiptoe.

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Artist's Statement

Awe, Ecstasy, and the Sacred

An Experimental Approach to Living and Art-making

Contemporary and Postmodern

Artist as Missionary

Artist's Statement for the Figure Paintings

Artist's Statement for Landscape Paintings

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