I. The Exhibit   |   II. The Man   |   III. The Connection   |   IV. The Outline 2004 westhorizon.com
    George Wagner: Painter.
As though in a trance, he paints. There is no method to the madness, it's madness in method. The paint is applied to the surface as though by the whim of the paint itself. The paint wants to meet the canvas; it wants to become alive within the fury of color; it wants to become another piece in the texture. As colors being to build, and build, the image forms. It is not because he intended it. It is only because the paint willed it. He is an avatar for some distant muse toying with the colorful reality behind the artist's eyes.
This is just one aspect to the man, the painter, the style: George Wagner. One reason is because there is no one style, nor one man present. It is a constantly changing surface, just as his paintings are--living, dreaming, striving, and evolving. In this exhibit one can see a plethora of images and each one not quite like the next. Not only in it's form, or it's color, but also in its creation. He is never satisfied with one route, one way of doing things. There is no one truth, no universal mode, and no transcendent definition of art. Art is what it made of art, what becomes of it, and what it felt by it.
His span of work is a testament to that philosophy. His very skill in painting is living proof of such. George Wagner never had any education or any methodical approach to painting. In fact, his first strokes upon canvas were in experiment, in need for an outlet. He found painting as this source for expression, and through out his life, he has evolved that expression to suit the maturing person within him. There is no one style that can fit him, as long as he lives his works will grow with his own experience. The constantly changing painting which is George Wagner will continue to be layered upon with new paint with each passing experience, and each need to express the feelings created by it.
As a young man, he experimented with smooth, carefully blended strokes. As his skill with the brush improved, the paintings became much more abstract. Not quite impressionist, yet the smooth forms of traditionalist representation fragmented and exaggerated. His paintings became more profound, and their scope of emotion deeper. With each new step in experimentation his style changed. Often these steps were nothing short of leaps, and the extent of change was violently extreme. This has been his bane in the art world. They seek consistency in style, repetition in form. Yet for an artist this means stagnation, the death of creativity. He refuses to commercialize his expressions into one mode.
In part because of this, George Wagner has become the quintessential starving artist. His living conditions are meager and his work insults his nature. Yet it is strikingly obvious what consumes his soul; his apartment is littered with paintings. So many that one can hardly walk through it save the small path cleared amongst the wreckage. Though his hands are often used to produce the works of mindless labor, it is merely a vehicle towards a higher goal. Sometimes the very practical limitations placed on him require him to adapt and change his way of expression. This means stretching the limits of acceptable media at times, this shown in form of the ink drawings he made using polished wood doors and tables as a canvas.
There is so much in art that can be spoken in words, yet there is so much more that is not to be spoken. Such is why it becomes art, because it explains the unexplainable. When you look at the expansive works that George Wagner has done, you begin to understand a part of him which he would never dare breathe from his own lips. At times you can see the pain and depression. In others a sense of obsession is present. Whichever painting you see, you view not only the subject on the surface of the paint, but also you view him within that; his very inner being: George Wagner.

- Daniel Westhoven      

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