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My newest body of work What Remains, is a universal theme in my work, manifest through a series of decisions about color, scale, line, composition and content. Equally, these paintings refer to remnants on a global level, and to what remains on our planet as the result of human consumption.

Using a combination of printmaking and oil and encaustic painting, what lingers from the materials is what comprises the work. Decisions to add, subtract and eliminate form the overall narrative.

My ongoing diptych series, Opposing Cartographies, combines atmosphere with structural divisions to express the order of nature that unites the inner and outer hemispheres. Their contrasting elements are intended to invoke a sense of transformation.

What remains is the evidence of where things end, transform and begin again.


I strive to reflect in my work the seemingly illogical and arbitrary order inherent in today’s uncertain world through the use of subject matter ranging from physics to cartography. Engagement with my immediate surroundings and various current concerns continually fosters a preoccupation and fascination with science, nature, the sublime and the celestial.

Science by definition is mystery and also stands as a metaphor of discovery for all that is unknown, intangible and incomprehensible to us as human beings. I create my art in an attempt for it to commingle with science towards evoking the passage of time and bring the intangible into a visual context. Atmosphere is used in the work as a symbol for transitions: where things end, where they transform and where they begin again. 

The conceptualization of my work arrives through subjects or images that I am compelled by and is then achieved through creating small studies, drawings, writing and making prints. I often work on several paintings simultaneously using a variety of media and always rely on chance occurrences in materials to navigate the direction of the work. This practice of working enables me to detach from the work to some extent, allowing for a dialogue or theme to emerge.

Elise Wagner, 2015


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