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If You Give A Creative Person Paper And Tablecloths, They Can Make Something Like This

JANUARY 30, 2015  —  By Laura Caseley  
Laura Caseley

Laura Caseley

Laura Caseley is a New York-based writer, artist, and illustrator. When she's not writing and researching for ViralNova, you can find her working on an art project or enjoying a good cup of tea.

Artist Crystal Wagner creates intricate installations that sprawl across walls, floors, and ceilings. Her work contains organic shapes that make them look like strange algae or primitive deep sea creatures. With a background in printmaking, Wagner's art pieces are combinations of two- and three-dimensional forms, full of pattern, color, and texture.


To create these pieces, she uses relatively cheap, readily available materials like paper and plastic tablecloths from the dollar store.


The mundane material is given a new life in her hands, twisted, folded, and built into flowing structures.

They look like billowing sheets caught mid-billow, waves frozen in time, or strange organisms growing with abandon over the space.

The installations are huge, and humans can interact with them by walking through and around them.


At a glance, the forms almost look recognizable as organic creatures like plants, but they're entirely abstract. They seem at once alien and familiar, like invaders and shelters.


The installations will usually interact with their surrounding rooms, using walls, doorways, and corners as a way to inform their shape.

Besides the massive installations, Wagner also creates shadow box-like pieces made out of cut, folded, and printed paper. Like the installations, they resemble organic forms or sea creatures, somewhere between plant and animal, that seem to coil and writhe in the confines of the square boxes. In the boxes, they almost appear to be alien specimens for observation.

Spectrum: Bio Interloper IV

Spectrum: Bio Interloper VIIII

Terrarium IV

Wagner working on one of her boxed pieces.

With bright colors and swirling forms, each of her pieces are meticulously crafted in layers and levels, creating a rich result that has ever more details to show off the more they're looked at. Wagner also stays true to her printmaking background, and creates two-dimensional pieces as well. You can see those on her website. You can also keep up with her new projects on Instagram and Facebook.

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