CATHERINE WAGNER
Selections: 1980 - 2000
February 28 - April 14, 2001
BIOGRAPHY
PRESS RELEASE
San Francisco Chronicle, March 29, 2001
Installation Photographs
Cross-Sections + Annotations
Bay Area Artists Consider the de Young Museum
Art & Science: Investigating Matter
American Classroom

George Moscone Convention Center Site

This 20-year survey exhibition will feature a cross-section of photographs from Wagner's oeuvre, beginning with those taken of the George Moscone Convention Center Site in 1980, up to her present photographs taken with medical imaging devices. The underlying theme throughout Wagner's work is decoding the times in which we live by using models such as construction sites, classrooms, homes, and science. Making a comment on change, Wagner captured the vast construction site of Moscone Center, planted between high rises, with the steel skeleton of a colossal arch girded by wooden beams. She presented a kind of archaeology in reverse, a harbinger of eventual ruin. Wagner uses the photograph as a catalyst for the transformation of ideas and information.

Among the series on exhibit will be American Classroom. The classroom is shown as a model and a repository of our collective conscience. Andy Grundberg wrote about Wagner's work in The New York Times, "…as a result the classrooms seem like archeological sites that, if studied long and hard enough, might yield the keys to understanding our civilization." These classroom studies prompted Wagner's interest in our human culture revealed through science. Also exhibited will be selections from Wagner's series Art & Science: Investigating Matter in which she examines the construction of contemporary culture through science.

Wagner's work is characterized by firmly ensconced compositions, crisply defined forms, meticulous attention to detail and seemingly infinite tonal gradations. Her photographs are devoid of human presence although they are fraught with the traces of human acts and passages. Each of the series represented in this survey was an independent travelling museum exhibition.