Foundation woodcut printed images on paper, mounted on constructed boxes, to be installed in a 3 x 3 grid arrangement with approximately 12”spacing. ink, paper, metallic foil, wood 29” x 29” x 7 ½” (each unit) 110” x 110” x 7 ½” (9 units installed) 2008
A Statement on Foundation
Nine identical square wooden boxes are laid out in a precise three by three square on the gallery floor. Such systematic ordering of forms might reference minimalism, were it not for the fact that the surface of each box exudes the earth-mellow glow of copper and the bluish-green of malachite, copper’s mate in earth’s geology. The severe geometry of the squares-within-squares is tempered, if not contradicted, by the randomness of the malachite-hued shapes that seem to float like islands on a copper sea. The entire work is a play with complementarities of opposites and their transcendence: geometric regularity – culture in classical tradition – verses organic line – nature; copper’s warm color and malachite’s cool hue; land and water, male and female; the corporeal bulk of the boxes and the lyrically light markings of the paper prints which they support. Hager obtained the accidental shapes by literally rolling male as well as female nude models smeared with paint inside a large wooden box, and the side of the box that carried the body’s imprint then became the matrix for the two-color woodcut. The grain of the wood remains visible and becomes part of the traces left by human presence. Earth-bound, yet luminous with spirit as light reflections in the metallic colors animate – literally “giving soul to” – the forms. The sculptor and printmaker Hager has gracefully married his media by taking the print off the wall.
Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Professor of Art History, Washburn University Art Department 2008