Overview

Intimately entangled with both landscape and fabricated industrial materials, my sculptural paintings evoke visible and unseen realms. I grew up on the eastern slope of the Sierras, where tribal land and wild horses converge with dramatic vistas, sprawling ranches and 24-hour casino culture. Abject poverty exists alongside extreme, yet modest wealth. The air is thin, temperatures can be extreme, people work hard, play harder and the enormity of the sky and mountains feel like a religious experience. It is a place simultaneously chaotic and tranquil, rugged and contained. Coming of age in this landscape, amidst the cultural conditions, people and wildlife, I learned about the relationships between land and its inhabitants. I became aware of industry’s great ironies — how its employment is necessary to people’s sustenance while its operations affect the health of the land. Having become sensitive to contrasting extremes, my work contains the tension of coexisting visual and theoretical paradoxes. In my painted wood and metal artworks, I use unlikely material pairings and unusual color combinations to gently aggravate the viewer’s existing assumptions about spatial relationships. Working with disparate and seemingly unrelated elements, I am able to re-orchestrate and organize them into harmonic relationships that reveal unexpected beauty. As tangible evidence of physical experience, reflective surfaces, spectral phenomenon and materiality, I hope that my work can behave like a desert mirage — that it can be at once a trick of the eye and also a mystical, transcendent moment. My material choice is inspired by the sentient and energetic exchange between objects and living creatures; I’m drawn to that which is familiar but overlooked. Aluminum, for instance, is a steady and ubiquitous material in everyday life; it is often found in domestic settings and is the most abundant mineral in the planet’s core. Wood, on the other hand, is shy and much less boisterous. Through the prolonged intimacy of debarking, shaping and sanding, I slowly but continuously discover wood’s inner workings, its secrets and history. Most of my wood has been intentionally sourced from nearby forests in Northern California. I find that working with local wood provides a connection to land and becomes a practice of stewardship. Beyond the visible realm is a plane of vibration, energy, and mystery. This plane is where empirical knowledge becomes interwoven with belief, where our eyes can play tricks on us, where logic is overwritten by feeling and where my imagery originates. Through engagement and observation of nature’s patterns, I witness coincidence, reveal symbols, notice colors, explore relationships and feel a deep resonance with the spirit of the land. Overlaying geometric constellations onto organic topographies, my abstract compositions are as narrative as tree rings or cell structure or the materiality of aluminum. With paint, I create prismatic spectrums that ripple, accelerate, reverberate and flow. Invoking transcendentalists, I use color as an intuitive tool to increase balance within the body. In these ways my colorful multi-media assemblages seek to connect people and objects — through what is seen and sensed — to the mystical nature of our world.

Works
Exhibitions
Biography

Education

2001 MFA, Mills College, Oakland, CA

1993 BA, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

Public Collections

Capital One Digital Innovation Labs, San Francisco, CA

Ashiya Baycourt Club, Tokyo, Japan

Shri Ninai Enterprises, Raigad, India

M.I Star Mineral Water, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Reenie Bird Vintage (outdoor mural), Sebastopol, CA

Wash Plus, (hand-painted pictogram signage and indoor mural), Sebastopol, CA

Solo Exhibitions

2021 (untitled), College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery, Kentfield, CA (upcoming)

2020 Everglow, Maybaum Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2019 baby, let’s get out of here and build a love nest in space, Miracle Plum, Santa Rosa, CA

on a clear day, we can be forever, Hammerfriar Gallery, Healdsburg, CA

2018 our vision will be better on the moon, Local Language, Oakland, CA

2017 Victoria Wagner, Gallery Lulo, Healdsburg, CA

2016 Believer, Neon Raspberry Art House, Occidental, CA

2015 Logic of the Ordinary, Kitty Hawk Gallery, Sebastopol, CA

2014 Interference at the Edge of the By and By, Louie Meager Museum, Ohlone College, Fremont, CA

wonder the passing through, Dose Projects, Brooklyn, NY

eclipsed days and compressed dimension, Studio Blomster, Guerneville, CA

2013 victoria wagner, Stark Tasting Room, Healdsburg, CA

2012 our mother the mountain, Marion and Rose’s Workshop, Oakland, CA

2010 extramundane: the journey of the shades, Hyde Street Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2009 when the past has passed it will be silver, Four Barrel, San Francisco, CA formations, Blankspace Gallery, Oakland, CA (with Erik Parra)

2008 the remains, Don Soker Contemporary, San Francisco, CA

2004 topographies of torque and tangent, Quicksilver Mine, Forestville, CA

2000 untitled, Andrea Schwartz, San Francisco, CA

Awards, Public Engagements, Residencies

2020 Recipient, Quick Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation

2018 Artist-in-Residence, Local Language, Oakland, CA

2017 Artist-in-Residence, Kala Art Institute Berkeley, CA

2016 Artists in Conversation with Heather Marx, Berkeley Art Center, CA

Guest lecturer for Nancy Selvin, Color and Perception, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA

2014 Visiting Artist Lecturer, Ohlone College, Fremont, CA

2013 Recipient, Creative Capacity Fund Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation

2013 Artist-in-Residence, Chalk Hill, Healdsburg, CA

2008 Painting Lecturer, Mills College, Oakland, CA

2005 Nominee, Eureka Fellowship, Fleishhacker Foundation

2001 Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Ron Nagle, Mills College, Oakland, CA

2000 Visiting Artist Lecturer, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA Mini Research Grant, Mills College, Oakland, CA

Group Exhibitions

2020 Relics from the Future, NIAD Art Center, Richmond, CA (upcoming)

Astro Hotel, selected artist room takeover, Santa Rosa, CA (upcoming)

2019 Altered States, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA

In Flux, Angela Meleca, Columbus, OH

Midsummer Edit: A Group Show, Sarah Shepard Gallery, Larkspur, CA

Roving Venue presents…,The Mill, Healdsburg, CA

2018 Artists’ Annual, Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA

Artsy Introductions, Alfa Gallery, Miami, FL

Group Show, Art Works, Cedar City, UT

428collective, Hammerfriar Gallery, Healdsburg, CA

2017 Shelves II, Orie Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

Spectral Hues, Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA

The Exquisite Corpse of the Unknown Veteran, Not Alone, San Francisco

Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA

forgotten words, Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery, Santa Rosa Junior College, CA

2016 I Look for Clues in Your Dreams, Berkeley Art Center, CA

2015 Rock Silica Soapbox, College Avenue Galleries, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA

A Special Curatorial Project with Rirkrit Tiravanija: The Way Things Go, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

2014 Mercado Sagrado by The Radder, Private Residence, Topanga, CA

West Coast Craft, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA

2013 Transmissions, Marin Community Foundation, Novato, CA

Falling Dark, Perdita Productions, Geyserville, CA (catalog)

Monster Drawing Rally, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

Tear it Out, Issues Magazine Shop, Oakland, CA

2011 Introductions, Root Division, San Francisco, CA

2012 Product 2, Studio 428, Healdsburg, CA

2010 Music from Mountaintops, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA (curated by Michelle Blade)

2009 Passive/Aggressive, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

Public Art/Urban Intervention Day, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

Past Forward: 25th Anniversary Exhibition, The LAB, San Francisco, CA

Mixed Metaphors and Obsessive Compulsive Behavior, Michael Rosenthal Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2008 Close Calls, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

2007 3x3, Di Rosa Art and Nature Preserve, Napa, CA (curated by Ariege Arsuegel and Natasha Boas) Summer Group Show, Don Soker Contemporary, San Francisco, CA

2006 From Nature, Jay/Addington Gallery, Chicago, IL

Spring/Summer Group Show, Don Soker Contemporary, San Francisco microcosm, Richmond Art Center, CA (catalog)

2005 Winter Group Show, Don Soker Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA

In the Garden, Julie Baker Fine Art, Grass Valley, CA microcosm, Brewery Project Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (catalog)

2004 Botany 12, Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, CA (curated by Natasha Boas)

Bibliography

2018 “Making Waves: 100 Artists Putting the East Bay on the Map,” San Francisco Magazine, Edited by Ian A. Stewart | May 31 “Studio Visit//Victoria Wagner”, The Studio Work, Elise Morris, Oct. 11

2017 “Good Vibrations: Victoria Wagner,” American Craft, Feb/March, Written by Deborah Bishop

2016 “Gemstone Woodrocks,” Llamas Valley, By Kamile Niunevaite | February 16

“Intelligence: Wood to Jewels,” Curve Magazine, Lebanon, April/May

“Wood Blocks Carved and Painted Into Glimmering Gemlike Objects”, This is Colossal by Christopher Jacobson, January 11

“Victoria Wagner/Woodrocks”, Dwell, by Design Crush

“Woodrocks-Victoria Wagner”, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, repost: This is Colossal January 17

“I Look for Clues in Your Dreams” (exhibition catalog), published by Ann Trinca and Berkeley Art Center, July 28 “Victoria Wagner on the Symbiosis of Art and Baking and Meeting Neighbors through Food”, Satori Travel, January 2

2014 “Woodrocks. I Victoria Wagner”, Quiet Lunch, November 16

2013 “Chalk Hill Residency/Victoria Wagner”, Elliptical Goodkind, by Michelle Blade, May 27

2008 “Geologic Remains”, ArtSlant by Natalie Hegert, May 3

2009 “Past Forward at the Lab”, by Sevilla Granger, July 31

2004 New American Paintings, Pacific Coast, issue 43

Viewing Programs and Consultancies

Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA

The Drawing Center Viewing Program, New York, NY

Bay Van Artist Registry, Oakland, CA

News