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For nearly three decades, the majestic untouched landscapes and natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest have largely informed my creative sensibilities. Using the subjects of physics, cartography and astronomy to construct a broad conceptual framework, I create work that probes emergent mysteries in scientific exploration.

Steeped in this conceptual framework, my current body of work Opposing Cartographies, addresses my creative impulse to combine contrasting elements that loosely interpret scientific discovery and various related symbols and images. The paintings are intended to be allegorical—depicting illusory worlds containing what we cannot quite see or have yet to fully understand. Atmosphere is used in the work as a metaphor for transitions: where things end, where they transform and where they begin again.

Creatively, my interest lies in attempting to bring aspects of our unseen realities, our sense of time, memory and place into a visual context. My process involves researching, writing, drawing, making, looking and creating anew.

The texture, depth and complexity of the surfaces of my paintings imply realms of the physical and the celestial, while the scientific symbolism suggests the accurate and the quantifiable. Upon viewing my paintings and the “illusory world” illustrated within them, one may be left with feelings of unease, fascination and a sense of the mysterious. 

Elise Wagner, 2013