the art dealers association of california ADAC CINOA The International Fine Print Dealers Association IFPDA



The Passion of Assemblage

November 17th through December 30th, 2007

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 17th - 12 to 5 pm

Gordon Wagner, The Mexican Night Clerk

The Mexican Night Clerk

Gordon Wagner, Pieces from the Sea

Pieces from the Sea

Californian GORDON WAGNER was a leader in the progression of American assemblage and collage in the 20th century.

Wagner earned a degree in engineering and art from UCLA, attended the Chouinard Art Institute, and worked in the aerospace industry for over twenty years.  He began exploring art through easel painting and drawing while his engineering job paid the bills.  In the late 1940s/early 1950s, he traveled through Mexico and the Southwest, continuing the influences of his childhood experiences as a beachcomber.

The assemblages he began in the 1950s reflected his sensitivity to his travels, interests, and personality.  Piece of Pieces from the Sea testifies that, from age 12, he was an inveterate collector of washed up debris near Redondo and Venice Beaches.  The Mexican Night Clerk (1960-65) reveals Wagner’s responses to his travels, while the Shrine Box (1961/64) confirms his fascination with the mystical.  Wagner perspective evokes a sense of nostalgia unique to his work, Our Lady of Guadalupe (1985) shows reverence to Native American cultures.  He juxtaposed elements of childhood  with mystical rituals and indigenous cultures that he combined with wit, social commentary and satirical storytelling.

Wagner exhibited widely in a number of important shows in the United States and Europe.  He showed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as surrounding Los Angeles art galleries, including the Ferus Gallery.  His work was included in the seminal exhibition Forty Years of California Assemblage at UCLA’s Wight Gallery in 1989, which brought together the most important California assemblagists, and reinforced Wagner’s influence on the Assemblage movement.  He also exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC and the Pratt Institute Gallery in New York City, as well as galleries in England, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Sweden. Towards the end of his career, Wagner worked and exhibited at the Angel’s Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, California. Currently, Wagner’s Between Heaven and Hell  is displayed int LACMA’s “So Cal” show through March 2008.

Gordon Wagner’s assemblages combine elements of surrealism and abstract expressionism, and he is undeniably present in every piece he created.

Gordon Wagner, Seven Actors

Seven Actors

Gordon Wagner, VR


Gordon Wagner, Carbojolic Calculator

Carbojolic Calculator

Gordon Wagner, Ace of Arrows

Ace of Arrows

Gordon Wagner, Yellow


Gordon Wagner, Mojave Freight Yard

Mojave Freight Yard

Gordon Wagner, Two Loves

Two Loves

Gordon Wagner, Palace of Birdland

Palace of Birdland

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Also showing:

...And Friends (a complement to Gordon Wagner)