Catherine Wagner (b. 1953, lives in San Francisco)

Sponge (Multi-cellular), 2000
Lambda digital print

Balancing Organs, 2000
Lambda digital print

Sound Organs, 2000
Lambda digital print

While working on a series of photographs of science labs in the mid 1990s, Catherine Wagner was struck by how much modern science relies on images that a traditional camera cannot capture. Thus began her "Cross Sections" project that uses medical imaging devices such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment and Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) as cameras to consider the invisible structures of the human body and everyday objects. In the three luminous lambda prints on view here, Wagner explores life on an elemental level and, at the same time, radically redefines still life photography (quite literally, she turns it inside out!) The artist surprisingly draws attention to the leitmotifs of form that recur throughout nature—for example, sponges and organs look like each other, and grouped in clusters, take on associations with inter-stellar galaxies. Wagner's photographs celebrate life in all its mysterious forms and remind us that the fields of science and art are similarly based on the wonder of discovery.

Catherine Wagner was chosen by Time magazine in 2001 as one of six innovators in the arts. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, including recent shows at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Nelson Atkins Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Walker Art Center, and the International Center of Photography.

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