San Francisco

Catherine Wagner

Fraenkel Gallery

Catherine Wagner is a particularist whose black and white photographs discriminate, as she says, “more than the eye is used to seeing.” This small show comprised prints chosen from the three main series she has completed over the past decade: “George Moscone Site,” 1979–82, “The Louisiana World Exposition,” 1984–85, and “American Classroom,” 1982–87. As the titles suggest, her subjects have tended to be the purposeful spaces of public architecture and schools. The subjects have a reflexive pitch, as if Wagner’s eye and her camera had set out to rediscover their own intentions through confronting the dense patterns of big-scale building construction and the bland machinery of education. Thus, the images themselves derive from slow, conscientious study through the viewfinder, and as compositions they are intricately, even grandly, engineered. Altogether, they propose an objective photographic

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