Paul Wager (born 1949) is a British painter and sculptor. His works include large scale bronze and steel sculptures and paintings which relate to insurrection, anarchy and revolution.
Born in Hartlepool 1949 and attended Rosebank High School Hartlepool where film directors Ridley and Tony Scott were pupils. He then went on to study a BA in Fine Art at Sunderland Polytechnic and an MA at Newcastle Polytechnic. Having taken a particular interest in the technical aspects of sculpture, he studied Fine Art Foundry Practice at The Royal College of Art and trained as a coded welder with MacDermott Inc Scotland before moving on to research British Steel Sculpture at Loughborough University.
'I find myself at the interzone of painting and sculpture; my work is a heavy metal cocktail of male fantasies, obsessive and confrontational. It is a chemical haze of alternative sound and vision, religion and politics, conflict and war, tragedy and loss. A crucible of liquid observations and memories which stimulate my pending offering to the uncharted future of art.' P.Wager
Paul Wager's early sculptures are very large fabricated steel works. His most prominent pieces are sited at Loughborough University and include 'La Retrait', 'Revolution', 'Pulse' and 'Strike'. His academic teaching career started at Cheltenham School of Art in 1975 and included Winchester School of Art, Central St Martins, Bristol Polytechnic and Loughborough University.
Wager's most recent sculpture is cast in bronze at Pangolin Editions and incorporates corten steel plinths which are an integral part of the work. He uses text in both paintings and sculptures. His paintings are large complex images and exist in a zone of ambiguity and contradiction: between macho and kitsch, erotic and ironic, politics and religion and are not hall marked with any single definable perspective.
Umberto Eco outlines: "Art now in general may be seen as conveying a much higher degree of information though not necessarily a higher degree of meaning. Wager’s paintings are a profound statement of information and meaning.’’
“My painting and sculpture is in many ways a visual record of the passing of time, related ideologies and isolated identities. It is a memorial to myself, to existence, power and its abuse.'' Paul Wager 2015
Sculptor Michael Sandle RA nominated Wager for RA in 2015 and for The Bryan Robertson Trust Award in 2016.
In Michael Sandle’s words:
“Much of contemporary ‘art’ would seem to mirror the Social and Political values around it in that it is either shallow or downright awful. Thank God therefore for an artist like Paul Wager who throughout his career has had the steely integrity and critical mien to follow his own star and not be part of the ‘comedy of manners’ which is what today's ‘Mainstream' has become. So much of today’s art is so meaningless or can be forgotten in a Nanosecond that it is such a blessed relief to be confronted by a work from a serious artist like Paul Wager that has something to say.''
''I first became aware of Paul Wager's work many years ago when I came across a well wrought and conceived steel sculpture which has remained in my memory ever since - a sure sign of excellence. His work has evolved since then via a series of elegiac and superbly crafted bronze sculptures relating to the WW1 or the ‘Great War’ as it is also known. From this extraordinarily potent series he is continuing to keep his head above the parapet with a series of powerful ‘socio-critical’ works. I rate him very highly and feel his work deserves to be widely known and this is why I have taken it upon myself to champion him and it makes me angry that he suffers a bit from the North/South divide because he has chosen to live and work in his home town of Hartlepool. The man is a serious and good artist and it shouldn't matter where he lives or that he isn't a fucking celebrity”. M Sandle, 2016''
Paul Wager's academic teaching career started at Cheltenham School of Art in 1975 which later included Winchester School of Art, Central St. Martins, Bristol Polytechnic and Loughborough University.
Whilst at the Royal College of Art, Paul Wager became life-long friends with the late William D Figg who provided a studio and apartment in Teddington where Paul worked with close friend the sculptor John Humphreys.
In 1975 Wager first worked at Lypiatt Park with Lynn Chadwick.
Wager taught on a part time basis at Cheltenham Art School from 1974 until 1981. It was here that he met John Humphrey's. He continued to work with assistant Robert Crookston at Winchcombe Gloucestershire where 'La Retraite' and 'Revolution' were fabricated (1983 -1987).
Paul worked at Bristol Polytechnic from 1985 - 1992 with his friend the late Ernest Pascoe (Head of Fine Art) who nominated Wager for RBSS (Royal British Society of Sculptors). Assistant Robert Crookston joined him at Bristol where 'Pulse' and 'Strike' were built. From here, he later joined the staff at Loughborough University in 1993 forming a long standing career bond with Dave Morris who was the Head of Sculpture. Wager became a member of The Loughborough Group and exhibited widely with them.
In 1991, upon returning to Hartlepool, Paul Wager had his one man show "New Order" at The Bede Gallery Jarrow, which was curated by Vince Rea. The Loughborough Group had also exhibited at this gallery.
Wager left the Loughborough group in 2002 and has continued to live and work in Hartlepool in close association with Pangolin Fine Art Foundry with which he has worked for over twenty five years.
Paul Wager was nominated for the Royal Academy of Arts by Michael Sandle RA, in 2015. Sandle has further nominated Wager for The Bryan Robertson Trust Award 2016.
Wager's latest solo exhibition "The Masque of Anarchy" will be shown at the Dadiani Fine Art Gallery in April, 2016.
Wager met his wife Julia whilst teaching at the Cheltenham Art School. They have 3 sons John Paul (b 1984) Francis Conley (b 1990) and Joseph Roman (b 1993).