RORY WAGNER (1950-2010), 2006 New Mexico Governors Award For Excellence In The Arts
Rory’s work almost defies description. He paints primarily large canvases, but even in his smaller pieces there is a compelling, larger-than-life quality. Is it the eyes? Each face demands your attention with those incredibly luminous eyes. It is difficult to look away, to break the spell; and when you finally do, you are inevitably drawn back. Yes, it is the eyes! Wagner’s faces transcend the ordinary and explore the nobility of our human potential.
It is not surprising that Rory Wagner, who was raised in Florida, chose Taos as his home. Taos has, after all, long been a mecca for those in search of life at it’s largest; those who refuse to compromise, who demand freedom in their daily existence. Nor is it a surprise that one of his favorite early subjects was the cowboy – that American icon of don’t-fence-me-in heroism. What is surprising is the exquisite integrity of each painting. These pieces are created meticulously from Wagner’s photographic memory - often after only a brief encounter with the subject portrayed.