By Artists For Artists

Virginia Wagner: Blending Myth and Reality

Exquisite Myth

Virginia Wagner, a 32-year-old artist who opened her eyes in Berkeley and was brought up in Connecticut, is from a family of biologists but chose a profession entirely different from the scientific field. She studied art and writing at Oberlin College and got her MFA at MICA in Baltimore. Now, she is focused on teaching, as it helps her to be more expressive. Virginia is fond of utilizing the physical and psychological aspects of nature and displays them in her work with distinctive combinations of colors.

"Sky Burial" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on canvas, 2016

Working with ink and oils, she likes to paint conflicting relationships between humans and nature. One of the most recent series by Virginia Wagner is called Metropolis (2017), heavily inspired by the ever-changing environment around us. Metropolis is a painting series that parades us through dystopic places using enticing colors and fascinating textures.

"Wall" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on canvas, 2018
"The Hearth" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on canvas, 2017

Virginia Wagner believes in creating images that connect people empathetically. Living in a fast-paced technological world, the artist’s main goal is to create images that tell a shared story of living and navigating the era of constant technological and ecological shifts, to help frame the shared feeling of how alien the world has become. She supports the statement of the late American Professor of Literature Joseph Campbell:The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world.”

"The Containers" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on canvas, 2017
"Burn Her" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on mylar, 2017

Dreadful Reality

The artistic process itself is far from spreading color on the canvas. Wagner collects images, makes rough sketches, and attaches notes, before starting a painting. “I don’t wait for the muse to drop by. There are far too many important stories worth telling and each one takes a long time to grow and shape,” she says. While her various scenery is mesmerizing to us, the places Wagner finds herself drawn to are those which are affected by humans or changing environmental effects.

"Shadow Puppets" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on canvas, 2017

“I’m particularly attuned to the ways that humans are affecting the Earth and how our environment is changing. Often, I’ll visit places that are in a state of ruin or rebuilding – an abandoned hospital complex, amusement parks, or coastline after the storm. When I go to draw, it’s from a deep well of the things I’ve gathered.”

"Wake" by Virginia Wagner, ink and oil on canvas, 2016

With her artwork, Virginia Wagner aims to display the emotional truth of living in a technologically-advanced world and explores our relationship with nature. She blends the myths with the realities and creates masterpieces that never fail to impress visually and emotionally. Her paintings embody the ever-changing chaotic natural elements of a scene. She raises her voice at the lies and indifference of the current political system, and hopes for a change through truth-seeking and connection.

All images copyright of Virginia Wagner.

You can view more work by Virginia on her Instagram and website.

Article written by Aisha Bashir and Natalie Kotok

Virginia Wagner
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