In her third one-person exhibition of paintings at RARE, Norwegian artist Kira Wager demonstrates her continuing evolution and fascination with photography and its relationship to painting as well as both mediums’ ability to evoke memory. Wager’s transition from images sourced from friends’ and family’s photo albums to her own snapshots allows the artist to imbue her paintings with greater personal sentiment while questioning photography’s potential as a documentation tool.
Central to Wager’s work is the visual memory of her subjects as evoked by photographs which she views in small, taped off, isolated segments while painting to give herself an impetus to remembering. The result is paintings where abutting sections don’t quite match up, that vary from each other in terms of how representational or abstract they appear, or that seem painted from different perspectives. In other words, the paintings look like how memory is experienced. . . .
Moving beyond the narrow range of pigments of earlier work, the six large-scale paintings in this exhibition are accomplished with a multitude of pigments and more freely interpret both photography and painting as related mediums. While mimicking the richness and variety of the types of colors reproduced in photos, Wager emphasizes the effects of saturation (Indungatan 1.2, 2007) and (over)exposure (Oslo 1.2, 2007), showing us that painting can do as fine a job as any photograph in depicting the essence of reality.
Wager lives and works in Oslo, Norway. She received degrees from the State Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo in 1998, and from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland, in 1997. Wager has exhibited at Galleri K in Oslo; the Bergen Kunsthall in Bergen, Norway; the Konstakademien in Stockholm, Sweden; and the Victoria Miro Warehouse in London. She participated in the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York from 2002 through 2003. More recently, her work was included in the inaugural exhibition at Maddox Arts, a contemporary art gallery located in the Mayfair district of London. The group show, entitled Irrational Exuberance, opened on October 4.