November 18, 2013
Opening reception Thursday evening
Northeastern Junior College Art Director David Wagner (left) is assisted by freshman student Aaron Bauer (right), an art major from Colorado Springs, in hanging a Prestwich piece for the Annual Faculty and Staff Art Show, which opens this week with a free public reception on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the gallery. (Courtesy Photo)
When Northeastern Junior College hired David Wagner to come on board as the new director of art classes for its liberal arts division, many were excited to see what all he would bring to the program. His secondary responsibilities at Northeastern (NJC) are to serve as the curator of the shows going into the Peter L. Youngers Fine Arts Gallery on a rotating basis. Himself an accomplished artist, he has contact with artists from all over the world and plans to eventually bring the work of his colleagues from back East and other locations to Sterling. For now, he’s overseeing some gallery shows that were scheduled by his predecessor.
Among these shows is the Annual NJC Faculty and Staff Art Show. It will open this week and will be the first opportunity for many to see Wagner’s work. His art and that of other artists who have or currently teach at Northeastern will be on display beginning Thursday, November 21st. An opening reception for the show will be held that same evening from 6 to 7 p.m.
When Wagner came to NJC, he was a master’s student at the New York Academy of Art. His background is impressive. He holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Cal Poly and bachelor’s of fine arts from California College of the Arts where the art faculty selected him to receive his degree with distinction, one of two students from his department to be so honored. Before going on to pursue his masters, Wagner worked as a designer and painter for Douglas Bouman & Associates, a fine art and mural company in San Luis Obispo with a worldwide clientele. Wagner was the primary designer and artist for a twelve-piece series of large-scale digital paintings at the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas and he is also one of five artists who were sent to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to paint wall and ceiling murals at a new Four Seasons Hotel owned by the Royal Family of Saud.
Wager did some design and marketing work in Spain and taught art and geography at an inner-city high school in Sacramento. He continued to work on his art while living in Berkeley, California and now has work in exhibits in a variety of locations including New York, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and California. His art work consists mostly of oil paintings and drawings, but he's also started playing around with mix media. A number of the pieces in this faculty-based show are Wagner’s, including a really large oil painting front and center which is a testament to the large scale canvases he likes to transform.
Two pieces in the show, done by Wagner, are of hand revolvers. As an avid outdoorsman, he appreciates the right to hunt and otherwise own and use a gun. While the largest of these two pieces, entitled “Time to Leave Town” is an oil painting, closer inspection leaves one impressed with how intricate the detail is of the hand and the gun. It almost appears that the piece is a combination of oil painting and high-end photography, the stroke of the brush is that good.. Several of Wagner’s pieces are of people and have hands. “I’ve worked very hard to perfect the hand,” Wagner admits, “I know there are a lot of gun enthusiasts in this area of Colorado and I hope some of them will appreciate these two new pieces.”
Others with work in the show include long-time favorites Larry Prestwich, Pete Youngers, and Joyce May. A few other surprises are among the entries.
The opening reception, which is free to the public, will be in the gallery on the first floor of E. S. French Hall on campus on Thursday evening, November 21st. It will include refreshments and some of the artists will be on hand to answer questions about their work.