Gallery Luisotti is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Reparations, by Catherine Wagner. For the artist’s sixth solo presentation at the gallery, Wagner will be displaying her latest photographic series documenting the history of medical splints, in which she continues her examination of making a focused subject matter stand in for a greater, universal commentary of the present condition.
Displayed in total in the exhibition with deadpan, visual economy, the history of the splint forms a dual typology, one that bridges both the physical and emotional realms of human experience. The implication made by the subject’s presence is clear: the treatment of bones and muscles, the healing of the body in immediate duress. Following an arc tracing prosthetic technology from its most rudimentary form (a wood shutter and rope arm splint of Arm Wrap, 2010) to its most sophisticated (the formed polymer of Wrist III, 2010), the allusion made is of a continuing violence against the body politic through history and humanism’s ability to respond and move on from tragedy. They are, through there understated aesthetics, emblematic of hope.
As in Wagner’s earlier series, A Narrative History of the Light Bulb, the subject matter is reduced to highlight its basic, metaphysical essence. The human body is absent from Reparations, the splints forming in their capacity an extension of their once owner’s state of physical limitation. In part an allegory referencing the commonality of war images, the splints are symbolic objects attesting to the resilience of human psychology to endure. The ingenious forms of these instruments are quiet metaphors to the variety of ways one copes with society’s problematic addiction to conflict - whether physically, mentally, or through the emotions.
Catherine Wagner has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions including recently in the 75 Years Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and in Real and HyperReal at the San Jose Museum of Art. Her work is represented in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, amongst others. Wagner recently won the commission for the Central Subway Public Art competition from the San Francisco Art Commission for the Moscone Muni.