His early visual arts included large scale social commentary pieces incorporating acrylic paints and building materials. Installations, found objects were often paired with more traditional painting and drawing.
His work had quirk.
Often he had purposeful tongue-in-cheek jokes intermingling with real societal investigations, climate change and humanity’s connection to place.
In recent years, the retired professor of painting and design at Edinboro University, has been quietly exploring the world of plein air landscape painting, a style of painting involving being outside on site and painting from direct observation, usually in one session.
He is also in a small studio space where he elaborates on these observed scenes and other places to make slightly larger paintings based on places he has been and photographed.
“I’m in a different mode these days,” Warner said. “I think my studio work is starting to evolve into a spiritual quest of some sort.”
His work, now done in oil paints primarily, explores many scenes from his travels around local and regional back roads, as well as some scenes from overseas. He works daily, when life doesn’t intervene, working out new paintings. “Time will tell, but I’m kind of interested in where (these recent studio paintings) are going,” Warner said. “Not totally sure about it all, but the big pieces seem to be about presence. They definitely are different than my plain air stuff.”
Though his work may seem quite different from his early work, they still explore humanity’s connection to place.
Warner’s work over the last few years will be featured in a show at the Meadville Council on the Arts on the second floor of historic Market House in Meadville. An opening reception will kick off the month-long exhibition on November 4 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
The show, titled “Here and There” runs through December 3.
Editor’s note: Warner is a former professor of this article’s writer. They have been friends for over 25 years and currently share studio space.