Art  Zoller  Wagner
Realist Painting: Artist's Statement


Contemporary and Postmodern

My work is both Contemporary and Postmodern. It's Contemporary in that I'm not trying to revive an art of the past. I'm not an Impressionist or Paleolithic cave painter. But what is Postmodern about my art?

Postmodernism values subjective experience and personal exploration as sources for understanding. Postmodernism values questions more than answers. To claim, as I do, that we must question, test all boundaries, and determine truth for ourselves is thoroughly Postmodern.

Postmodern artists have brought art down from the soaring, cerebral abstraction of the Modernist period. Another way of saying this is that Postmodern art relates much more closely to the lives we actually live. In fact, to the average person, Postmodern art may not look like art at all. My saying that my life itself is an art form raises common Postmodern questions: What is art? How do we know whether something is art?

Grounding: Iron Deficiency, sculpture

   Grounding: Iron Deficiency
   mixed media construction

After years of neglect and derision by Modernists, some Postmodern artists revived art that was psychological, figurative (has recognizable subject matter), and narrative (tells a story). Most of my work, even my life as art, fits these three characteristics of Postmodernist art.

Any of us who keep our eyes and minds open as we live in this Postmodern age are almost certainly Postmodern ourselves. Nonetheless, there are "refugees from Postmodernism." These are people who find our era's complexity, ambiguity, and subjectivity overwhelming and threatening. They gravitate toward art that is comforting. Thomas Kinkade and Terry Redlin, for example, have been remarkably successful at commercially exploiting the anxieties of these refugees from Postmodernism.

Although I hope my work is seen as beautiful, it's not sugarcoated. Sappy nostalgia won't make the complexity disappear. I'd rather deal with ambiguity by living it, by experimenting with the mysteries.

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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

Main Gallery

About the Artist

Artist's Statement


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