Artist Christine Wagner took home first place for her piece “Fresh Paint” at Perkins Center for the Arts’ fall annual juried exhibition earlier this year.
“That piece, the composition I think is … I got that nailed down I think,” Wagner explained. “That was actually a piece that I revisited, and by that, I mean I was playing with putting a face into that art piece and I was not successful. So I had put it away and I was just thinking, ‘Okay I should revisit that piece of art.’
“I put it upside down and just started changing it and that’s how it ended up …” she added. “I like that piece.”
Wagner is a longtime township resident who’s been creating abstract art for six years. She’s thankful for the things that Perkins’ instructors continue to teach her, and she believes the art center plays a big role in Moorestown.
“It’s really, I think, a tremendous asset to the community to have Perkins,” she noted. “They offer extensive courses for children and adults alike.”
Wagner started sculpting years ago before transitioning to painting and collage, then acrylic painting. She finds abstract art most challenging and described it as something that comes from within.
“I basically paint, and it’s a feeling that I look for,” she observed. “I’m not necessarily inspired by anything particular … It’s like magic to me.”
According to riseart.com, abstract work is art that does not represent an accurate depiction of visual reality, communicating instead through lines, shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks. Abstract artists use a variety of techniques, mixing traditional means with more experimental ideas.
“Abstract art is basically color, lines (and) mark-making, and I have a tendency to look for light in my art pieces,” Wagner said. “I have a tendency to use a lot of negative space or empty space.
“That’s how I create my art pieces,” she added. “It’s mostly intuition, until it gets to the very end, where I have to think about what I do, where before that it’s just automatic. It’s a process.”
Wagner’s process changes before she can call a piece finished.
“I cover the entire canvas or panel that I use, and then I erase and scratch off and reapply,” she pointed out. “It’s a total process, and it usually changes maybe five or six times before I can call it finished.”
Wagner has participated in Perkins’ fall exhibition for years and is proud she won first place. She explained that juror Henri Meillier chose her piece because the composition, the lights, the darks and the lines impressed him.
“I was impressed that he picked my art,” she acknowledged, “and I have looked at his art. And I’m impressed with his art as well.”
Out of all the art forms, abstract art is the most free and enjoyable for Wagner.
“Abstract is very freeing, but it is also very emotional, and I like that,” she pointed out. “It’s easier for me to tell a story through my art, whatever that may be, then to even write or speak.”