HomeAbout The ArtAbout The GalleryLinksContact Us

Jerry Wagner

Rhode Island (born 1939)

Jerry Wagner was born April 23, 1939 in South Providence, RI. He studied forestry at University of Rhode Island. In the early 1960’s, Wagner was stationed in the Army's Special Service Office in Heidelberg, Germany. He then married and had two children and lived briefly in Greenwich Village, where he performed at The Bitter End and other venues as an acoustic blues guitar player and singer. Wagner later divorced and moved to Woodstock, NY.

In 1971, Wagner studied at the Yeshiva in Morristown, NJ. “I soon realized that I didn't have what it took to be a Rabbi”. Thereafter, he sold his possessions and from 1972-1974 he “took a walk" from Maine to Connecticut. In ensuing years, he walked from Miami to the Mississippi Delta, and along the California coast from San Diego to Monterey; all the while meditating on Blues music and the Chumash.

In 1977, Wagner was stricken with Crohn’s Disease and began to keep detailed journals. “I slowed down and became concerned with balance”. He used his art to that end, never intending to show it.

For years, Wagner would daily go to a favorite spot where he meditated, wrote, drew, carved, and practiced t'ai chi chuan. Lately he goes out mornings to walk around town to sketch and jot notes. He lives simply with few possessions.

“Gradually (in the past decade) I let the wall down so I could communicate on a verbal level. I was deep in a primal energy struggle for survival. I was practicing patience and learning to endure. It is my struggle to find out what life is all about. I’m making some progress. My work allows me to integrate my thoughts and to be critical and deliberate. I take the scenes from earlier drawings and let them evolve. I move to new styles as the drawings seem to move me. I do things over and over. It takes years for me to finish things.”

Wagner’s body of work consists of hundreds of drawings, annotated collages, wood carvings, assemblage sculptures, and densely detailed notebooks created over the span of more than thirty years. His compositions are often abstract and enigmatic. In 2005, he began to collage elements of his notes and drawings on the backs of cereal boxes and envelopes. He says that the process of collage helps him to “inhabit” the drawings.

His notebooks contain sketches, poetry, weather records, reference to places, dates, ideas, and observations. In many, the pages are packed with diagrams, codes, cryptic acronyms, abbreviations, etymological analyses, and personal formulas pertaining to perception, nature, music & art, spirituality, mysticism and primal intellect. Examples of recurring acronyms are: CDRS - cybernetic digital retrieval systems; COTEM - concentration of the eternal mind; SOHM - silence of homing (instinct) memory.

Wagner’s work is in the collection of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago. It has been exhibited in: You Better Be Listening: Text in Self-Taught Art, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, 2011; INSITA 2010 (9th International Triennial of Self-taught Art), Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2010; The Encrypted Eye: the Drawings of Jerry Wagner and Timothy Wehrle, Cavin Morris Gallery, New York, NY, 2006; Duration and Distance: Drawings and Carvings by Jerry Wagner, Island Arts, Newport, RI, 1997.

Integral to Wagner’s art is his philosophy.

“We’re corrupted by calendars. There is no longer the timelessness of the eternal mind.”

“A sanctuary of the spirit is a hard thing to build. It takes everything that you are to put it together, every emotion, every darkness, every light, every failure and every success. Only a full commitment of body, spirit and mind can build it.”

“It’s a problem planet. It’s how it’s designed. Resolve your problems. You can’t hold on to anything.”



George Jacobs Self-Taught Art
PO Box 476
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Phone 401-847-0991
Selftaughtart@aol.com

To purchase art, please note the artist and the artwork name and email us at Selftaughtart@aol.com or call us at 401-847-0991.

Click on images for a larger view.

Jerry Wagner
Three Stages of a Journey
2010, Mixed media on Raisin Bran box
7 ¾ x 12 inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Rise
2005, mixed media on envelope
6 ½ x 8 ½ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Inner Dance
2007, Mixed media on envelope
12 ½ x 8 ½ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Characters in Contrast
2006, Mixed media on Raisin Bran box
11 x 7 ¾ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Turtle Crawls
2009, Mixed media on envelope
12 ½ x 8 ½ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Homing Instincts
2010, Mixed media on paper
10 ¾ x 7 inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Eternal Light
2009, Mixed media on paper bag
9 ¼ x 6 inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
The Blocks
2009, Mixed media on paper bag
10 ¼ x 6 inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Sanctuary Pond
2010, Mixed media on Raisin Bran box
7 ½ x 11 ½ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
The Inner Circle
2007, Mixed media on envelope
6 ½ x 8 ½ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
The Silent Light House
2006, Mixed media on Nutty Nuggets box
8 ¼ x 12 inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
The Lost Mantra
2005, Mixed media on Raisin Bran box
6 x 7 ¾ inches
$1,200
Jerry Wagner
Torah
2009, Mixed media on envelope
8 ½ x 6 ½ inches
$800
Jerry Wagner
Pass thru Illusion
2009, Mixed media on envelope
10 ½ x 6 ¼ inches
$800
Jerry Wagner
Kindergarten
2012, Mixed media on envelope
4 ½ x 6 ¼ inches
$600
Jerry Wagner
Inner Imagination
2012, Mixed media on envelope
4 ½ x 6 ½ inches
$600
Jerry Wagner
A Gift of the Magi
2012, Mixed media on envelope
4 ½ x 6 ½ inches
$600
Jerry Wagner
The Dream of Time
2012, Mixed media on envelope
4 ¼ x 6 ¼ inches
$600
Jerry Wagner
Make Chicken
2012, Mixed media on Shredded Wheat box
5 x 6 ½ inches
$600
Jerry Wagner
The Steps of Light of Jacob's Ladder
2012, Mixed media on envelope
4 ¾ x 6 ¼ inches
$600
Jerry Wagner
Surveillance Wall to Wall
2015, Mixed media on envelope
4 ¼ x 6 ¼ inches
$600