The Work of Eric Fischl

American painter, printmaker and sculptor Eric Fischl has been widely recognised for his prolific work since the late 1970s and has uniquely captured a synister side of afluent suburban existance that resonates with his audience and challenges widely held perceptions about the conventions of figurative art.  Fischl has focused on a hugely diverse range of subject matter but all have a strangely voyeuristic quality.  His paintings peer in at exhibitionists and usually presentable subjects caught offguard, uncoordinated and unrehersed.  They explore the complexities of human relationships and domestic dynamics and arrangements.  Often working from his own photographs, layered, collaged and rearranged his work describes a worryingly familiar undercurrent of repressed anxiety or desire beneath a polished faced.  Fischl describes his childhood, having grown up “against a backdrop of alcoholism and a country club culture obsessed with image over content”.  This sentiment resonates in all of his work and examines the deviant cracks and flawed fractures that reveal the lapses in middle-class appearances and false propriety that articulate the strange nuances of this aspect of western culture.  Ignoring conventional illustrious subject matter and it’s elevated themes, Fischl defied the traditional filters of ‘high art’ and embraced his role as an artist of the suburbs.  Having tackled subjects like adolescent sexuality and examined the hidden dynamics beneath civilised facades, Fischl doesn’t shy away from controversial subject matter.  He caused uproar after painting ‘Tumbling Woman’ which reminded audiences of the falling bodies of 9/11.  This was not a cheap attempt at notoriety but a way of focusing attention on the tragic and overwhelming loss of life on that day as he felt that too much media focus had been on the destruction of the buildings and their symbolism rather than the overwhelming loss of life.  He has gone on to depict bullfights, capturing their ritualised brutality and bizarre status as accepted cruelty or theatrical violence.  Rather than slavish attempts at bland realism or over angsty and unrelatable symbolic figures, Fischl’s subjects are real.  There is a sincerity about the work that is bleak, compelling and exciting in its directness.  His painting seems to focus on a breaking point in repressed anxiety or desire, those moments of escapism from the expectations of a particular environment.   His sculptures have the same striking sense of immediacy and individualistic gesture.  Unposed, expressive and vibrant Fischl’s art is a unique record of contemporary America and of the complexity of human relationships.

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One response to “The Work of Eric Fischl

  1. Pingback: Não é uma resolução de ano novo. É Eric Fischl | APRÈS LA MOUSSON·

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