Dave Wagner
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About Dave Wagner

I am interested in the dualities I see shaping the grand dance of the universe: tragedy and beauty, chaos and order, destruction and creation. The paintings I make are enigmatic meditations on impermanence and the sublime. My work is heavily influenced by my love of spending time surrounded by mountains, staring at the stars, and considering the epic of what has come before and the potential for the future.

When I think about how a mountain is created, I think about the order and chaos that went into its design. I contemplate high temperatures, the randomness of different molten materials being mixed into each other under the stress of monumental pressure, and the violence and complexity of the epic events which conclude in the geology exposed on our planet’s surface. Then we have glaciers, volcanic activity, rain, snow, wind, and gravity.

At the same time, there is order. Gravity will always pull down. Light will always come from above. The seasons will come to pass on a calendar.

The notion of impermanence, championed by Buddhists, is also a theme in my work. In comparison to rocks or mountains our time here on Earth is minute; yet everything is in a state of change, including geology. In our lifetimes a mountain, or boulder, or rock, or star may not appear to be changing at all. But everything is in a state of flux, being altered by the stresses and influences of what is near and the physics of our reality.

And then I think about how all of these ideas are parallel to the human experience. Our physical reality relies greatly on the form and condition of our bodies. The mental state is dependent on the body, but is also changed through formative moments; our upbringing, impactful moments, and environmental factors for which we have no control. The existence of all things seems to have an arc of creation, being formed, changed, and eventually dissolved.

There’s the question of how I relate to this while I’m inventing my “formations” from my imagination. I am a witness when I observe the natural world, but I am a creator when I make art. I am attempting to communicate the effect that nature has on me when I’m immersed in it. The power and grandeur of our universe, the sense of the sublime, and impermanence, are all concepts that I convey by painting and drawing.

I am a native of California who received his MFA in New York City. Currently, I make art and am a full time professor in Livermore, California.
B.S. Graphic Design, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
B.F.A. Illustration, The California College of the Arts
M.F.A. The New York Academy of Art

Solo Exhibition, Firehouse Art Center, Pleasanton, CA


Essential Figure, (First Place Award) Bothwell Art Center, Livermore, CA

Winter Show, Bothwell Art Center, Livermore, CA


Wild and Balanced, Gallery 222, Hurleyville, NY


Picturing the Unprintable, The Flux Factory, Long Island City, NY
Breaking Frames, Eubie Blake Cultural Center, Baltimore, MD


Art of the State, The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Denver, CO
The Knew, Point Gallery, Denver, CO
Multiples, Sync Gallery, Denver, CO
Scientificous, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
Northeastern Junior College Faculty Show, Pete Youngers Gallery, Sterling, CO
Annual Show, Yuma Art Association, Yuma, CO

Regularly showed at Sync Gallery, Denver, CO


From the Heart, ATOU, Granite Bay, CA
(Solo Show) The Fearful Beauty of it All, Prairie Winds Gallery, Holyoke, CO
Sterling Art Walk, Sterling, CO
Northeastern Junior College Faculty Show, Pete Youngers Gallery, Sterling, CO


Lunar Gala, Columbia University, NY
Single Fare, R.H. Gallery, New York, NY
Divergent, Jewish Community Art Center, Staten Island, NY
Northeastern Junior College Faculty Show, Pete Youngers Gallery, Sterling, CO
Take Home a Nude, Sotheby's, New York, NY


Art Takes Miami : 1,001 Artists Project, SCOPE Art Show, Miami, FL
Surreal Salon 5, Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge, LA
Put A Bow On It, 2012, KGB, New York, NY
Deck the Walls, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
Annual Summer Exhibition, Flowers Gallery, New York, NY
Tribeca Ball, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY


Juxtaposed, Six Summit Gallery, Ivoryton, CT
Deck the Walls, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
"Psssttt", KGB, New York, NY
Artists of the Emerald Coast, The Mateel Community Center, Redway, CA


Artists of the Emerald Coast, The Mateel Community Center, Redway, CA


The Figure: Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture by Margaret McCann, David Kratz and Bob Colacello; Skira Rizzoli, New York, 2014


Callie Jones, "Art Instructor's Work Featured in New Book" The Journal Advocate, October 2, 2014

Barbara Baker, "Northeastern Junior College's annual faculty art show opens Thursday" The Journal Advocate, Novemeber 18, 2013

Callie Jones, "Northeastern Junior College's new art instructor looking to share his passion" The Journal Advocate, September 3, 2013
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