Luke Wagner’s restless and even relentless experimentation with his art practice continues in Under My Breath: Painting from the Domain. Wagner is an artist who works hard, questions himself and pushes through his barriers to uncover new ways to make a mark on canvas.
His art alters significantly from showing to showing and his latest body of work is quite a step away from the white and foggy mystery world portrayed in earlier exhibitions. Here is a land of muted pastels and soft focus that still has Wagner’s characteristic intensity: paint applied with near-nervous force and images filled with compelling energy and a kind of controlled tension.
Wagner isolates one shimmering fragment and explores it, teasing out the possibilities of what he’s seen and painting a memory rather than an actual place.
The effect is amplified by the sheer volume of images – Wagner has been busy, but the result is a feeling of striding through a landscape and recalling it.
Wagner is heading towards a self-imposed goal of understanding what it is that makes him paint. His images are calm but not still, and the notion that Wagner is symbolically capturing his intellectual journey as an artist seems possible.
There is beauty but also a desire to reach for something beyond making a soothing image, and it’s this rich but subtle quality that gives this body of work a singular depth.