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“I am fascinated by the idea of the natural environment,” writes Crystal Wagner, “but find more and more that I am being alienated from it.” Through intensely skillful drawing, printmaking, and collage, Hybrid Jungle reflects this ambivalence, transforming Famous Accountants into an immersive space that suggests an enchanted forest or an impenetrable bramble. Shunning archetypal earth tones for sour, lurid colors and deep oily blacks, the floral–insectoid forms in Wagner’s work are beautiful yet repellent, marvelous yet insidious. Nature becomes completely unnatural in the Hybrid Jungle, like a twisted idea of the Garden of Eden manufactured by a Chinese plastics factory. Wagner continues, “I can’t help but to scrutinize the plastic plant, painted bright green, as a stand-in for something living, and the neon light or fluorescent streak for something beautiful.”
Crystal Wagner lives and works in Montgomery, Alabama. She earned an MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2008. Curated by Christopher Howard, Hybrid Jungle is her first appearance in New York.
Sharon L. Butler, “Where I’ll Be Today: Famous Accountants,” Two Coats of Paint, July 11, 2010.