tom wagner studio
I have been working with the concept of system and structures, and how they assist, interrupt, and organize our lives. Systems or rules have structure by way of their composition and elements. Each system operates by a process of materials, energy, information and data, and the individual parts of the systems have functional as well as structural relationships. I have been using observational, experiential, photographic, and digital means to investigate a sense of place and time.
With reference to the Renaissance artist, Gian Paolo Lomazzo’s plan for art criticism, I have been looking at both deserted industrial architecture, and contemporary urban environments. Lomazzo’s Perfect Temple of Painting, a 16th century system of personality and human nature theory, pointed me in the direction of zodiac, alchemy and all things Renaissance.
I relied on an ancient system not only for content and composition, but also for color, location and historical reference.
I use place and architecture paired with the classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water. In keeping with Renaissance tradition of alchemy, Lomazzo equated each element with a contemporary painter. Using cardinal directions, and locating buildings that have a specific transcendent quality defined by their function, I began to loosely connect the work of Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio with contemporary structures.
I limit my system of imagery to shaded horizontal background hues, flat geometric shapes of color, line drawing, and minimal areas of “painterly abstraction.” Within this structure, the images refer to the tensions of past/present, real/imagined, place/time, and many of the dichotomies, which define our daily lives. It is sometimes reverent, often ironic yet always housed within the structure of Lomazzo’s Perfect Temple of Painting.