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  • Merrill Wagner: Steel, stone and alchemy

Until 30.03

Merrill Wagner: Steel, stone and alchemy

The 87-year-old US artist explores nontraditional surfaces at Konrad Fischer Galerie until March 30.

Photo: Konrad Fischer Galerie. Image: Roman März

Merrill Wagner has been around forever and although at 87 she’s now too old to work, in the twilight of her career she’s enjoying a bit of a moment.

The New York artist draws from the language of minimalism and became well known for her emphasis on materiality and use of nontraditional surfaces such as steel and stone. Five of these steel paintings from the 1990s are on show at Konrad Fischer Galerie – surely the most impressive commercial gallery space in Berlin.

These deeply considered works, with their strips of patinated steel, are interrupted by bands of perfectly weighted green and blue colour, like bare, geometric horizons. There is an alchemy to these works, the industrial metal and the textured colours are neither austere nor warm, but harmonised and reflective.

On the ground Crooked Strait is made up of shifting flat rocks, tethered together with an intangible line of white chalk. The upper tier of the mezzanine is dedicated to small oil on canvas paintings, inspired by the views of her farm in Pennsylvania.

With simple dashes and sprays of intense colour, they capture flowering meadows and an autumnal stretch of assorted brown and red trees that are a wonderful riposte to the winter chills.

Merrill Wagner Konrad Fischer Galerie, Mitte, through March 30