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Plattsburgh State Art Museum
The Joseph C. and Joan T. Burke Gallery
Channeling Ghosts: Marion Wagschal Paints the Figure
October 1 through November 13, 2005
Open Daily noon to 4pm, except Holidays
Preface
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Authoritative artists stand as unique vision makers contributing their special ideas and helping to create the broader aesthetic by which they are understood and from which the future evolves.

Fortunately the theoretical lock step advance of modern visual style and content from Cézanne to Pollock and beyond has lost its way and no longer follows a direction dictated by an interior logic and evolutionary dependency on its predecessors. Authoritative artists stand as unique vision makers contributing their special ideas and helping to create the broader aesthetic by which they are understood and from which the future evolves.

In such an ambiance the testament and personal concerns of each artist become primary. Individually they choose their ancestors from the data bank of visual history - art and environmental. Philosophy–although of our current human condition, again the choice is a reflection of the creator-their spiritual DNA.

The process is not as free or arbitrary as it may sound, for the complete mastery of a unique style must be combined with a mission of discovery – an examination of every nuance of the chosen direction. This environment offers distinct opportunities to an artist such as Marion Wagschal while also setting the bar extremely high in the demands it presents.

As a figurative artist Marion Wagschal paints in a critical world at ease with the recognizable, referential image. She completely masters her technique of description and documentation and expression while bridging the question of reality - the experience of paint and brush and canvas and the referential sensation of human flesh material and spiritual condition. Although one in experience and creativity, the viewer tends to separate the perception of a work with a reference to materials and one of spirit or a common human condition.

The viewer or commentator on Marion’s paintings could be drawn into this apparent duality present in her work. Whether it exists under the rubric of form and content, description and substance, body and soul. These paradigms may offer a means of introduction to these tightly bound expressions, but eventually one must confront the unity and oneness of the central core of this art. One does not look at the physiognomy of the described figures as separate from the color tonalities and impasto of the paint. The spatial experience is not one of illusion or vision but a need – a demand which drives the passion of the painting from its gut – the self formative living force at its core.

Care is the caveat while looking for artistic antecedents to a painter. We have come to understand the rules of a school – its aesthetic and social beliefs and stylistic concerns; influences and zeitgeist - but we must not lose the creativity of an artist in the myriad of elements. Because of this danger, great caution must be exerted in the mention of other artists while dealing with the work of one. This is particularly true of the work of Marion Wagschal because she is spiritually akin to some great masters, a shared heritage, a passionate incorporation of style into spirit. Marion’s common qualities and influences are of belief, not manner. Goya, Rothko, Masaccio and Corinth, among others, join the experience as one studies her work. Commonalties with the cultural statements of the human condition are made and one is found in a network of values and insights reaching out simultaneously in the present and in the past. The progressions and evolutions and time lines of former analyses give way to a timeless constellation of selfperpetuating experience and understanding.

Edward R. Brohel, Director

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Last Updated: September 28, 2005