Marianne Gagnier's art has about it a curious air of familiarity. Yet there is also an unaccountable strangeness here in the very fact that one seems already to know her work even before one has made a mental catalogue of—or even recognized—its contents. This seems counter-intuitive, yet both the symbol-laden universe of dreams and the abstract realm of mathematics are based upon a kind of irrefutable knowledge which precedes perceptions. Indeed, in such realms what one perceives appears actually to be a demonstration of what one already knows, not contrariwise.

Despite its foundation in abstraction, Gagnier's work, like dreams and mathematics, has immanently practical applications: it engages our attention rigorously in the very practical act of perception itself. Like her precursor, Claude Lorraine, she explores through art the ways the mind orders what the body senses. The sensuous surfaces, the murky light, the half-decipherable scenarios all draw attention to the interaction between the work itself and our perception of it. Thus Gagnier, like Claude, evokes in the viewer an unexpected sense of nostalgia, for she enaables us to rediscover timeless worlds we've always known but never realized concretely.