Artist: Rainer Maria Wehner
Wehner was born in Munich, Germany, and grew up in Bamberg, in North Bavaria. He completed two graduate degrees, one in art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe and the other in art history at the University of Karlsruhe. After the University, Wehner worked as a professional artist, and also taught for several years in Karlsruhe. In 1991 he moved to Berlin and eventually to the U.S. He has taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY and lectured at Syracuse University, the Munson-Williams-Proctor School of Art, and Hamilton College. He has exhibited at the Houghton House Gallery, Geneva, NY, the Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum, Utica, NY, SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica, NY and the Schweinfurth Museum, Auburn, NY. His work is in the permanent collections of Utica College and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. He currently has a solo exhibition at the Beck Gallery in Hamburg, Germany. Wehner lives in Utica where he continues to make his art.
Wehner says the idea for Crown is simple: “a 5 x 5 ultramarine blue square tube will be fractured randomly in acute angles. An arrangement of five of these cut tube elements, is raised at a height between 12 to 15 feet, then creates a cloud or a blossom of zigzags in the air but the viewer is unable to define which part belongs to which stem. The illusion is perfect: the whole setup becomes one piece rather than an accumulation of single parts. Associations may range from an abstract floral bouquet to an organic phenomenon—such as a fungus, or a man-made elevated thorn crown, or a bird’s nest sitting on a trunk. The shining blue color, however, contradicts any too close natural connotations and turns the whole into a piece of art open for interpretation.”
“In the late 1990s, I met several New York-based artists in Berlin who recommended that I apply for a residency at Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. I did so, and was accepted in 2000. I spent two very productive months in the studio and, as a consequence, my work was considered for a solo exhibition in 2001 at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art. Soon afterward, I was offered another one-man show at the Houghton House Gallery of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In order to prepare for this show, I applied for a second time to Sculpture Space and returned in 2003. During this residency I was offered two more teaching jobs in the area. Since then, I have become a resident of Utica and continue a close relationship with Sculpture Space; my work was included in one of their 30th Anniversary exhibitions and I have donated work to the annual CHAIRity Auction for the last six years.”