MW1995-026_Untitled, 1995, 6.5 x 10.5 inches, graphite and conte crayon on marble on stone-002.jpg

Merrill Wagner, Untitled, 1995, graphite and conte crayon on marble on stone, 6-1/2" x 10-1/2" © Merrill Wagner


Pace Welcomes Merrill Wagner

Jul 14, 2020

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Photography by Grace Roselli

We're honored to announce that New York-based artist Merrill Wagner has joined our international roster of leading artists. At Pace, we have a long history of championing figures, such as Agnes Martin, Sol Lewitt, and Robert Mangold, among others, who have dared to expand the possibilities of abstract painting. Wagner’s unflagging dedication to redefining the abstract languages of Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, and Post-Minimalism makes her a vital part of this history. We look forward to promoting global awareness of Wagner’s exceptional artistic contribution and to enriching the critical discourse on her practice through exhibitions and publications.

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Merrill Wagner, Light Aperture, 2000, rust preventive paint on steel, 48-3/4" x 73" © Merrill Wagner

For the last six decades, Wagner has worked in a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, books, and site-specific installation and intervention. Inspired by the great American landscape of the Pacific Northwest where she grew up, she has developed through continuous experimentation a poetic approach to abstraction that embraces non-traditional materials and exhibition formats. Her oeuvre consistently prods the limits of perception while exploring the tension between the natural and the man-made as well as the impermanent and timeless.

She began articulating her unique aesthetic in the mid-1960s with abstracted landscapes rendered in colorful, hard-edged geometric forms. Her investigation of materiality and perception deepened in the 1970s when she introduced tape as a key material in her work, as seen with her installations Green Landing and Burgandy Landing (1978) at MoMA P.S.1, New York. She soon went on to experiment with other atypical material supports, such as salvaged slate, stone, and steel, preserving these materials’ irregular edges and textured surfaces reminiscent of natural processes and forms.

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Merrill Wagner, Blue Summer Studio, 1985-2003, 2018 © Merrill Wagner

The transformational effects of time, especially on matter, are key concerns in Wagner’s work, which often alludes to geology and entropic processes. With her renowned site-specific intervention A Calendar (1983), for example, Wagner painted a series of yellow squares along a cedar fence in Gravelly Lake, near Tacoma, Washington, only to leave this image exposed to the ravages of time and the weather.

Susan Dunne, President of Pace Gallery, comments, “I have long been an admirer of Merrill’s work, having followed her career and visited her studio regularly for thirty years. Merrill’s decision to join us at Pace will further deepen this relationship as well as enrich the gallery’s diverse and historical program. I look forward to growing her audience while expanding the critical reception of her work globally.”

Learn more about Merrill Wagner.
News — Pace Welcomes Merrill Wagner, Jul 14, 2020