Louise Fishman Gets Physical
Cheim & Read Gallery, New York City
Knowing how an artist touches his or her work, whether it’s like a thoughtful lover or a BDSM hookup, helps onlookers better absorb the art. It enables us to imagine the work being made. Often we classify pieces by saying the artist “made love to a canvas,” “beat clay into submission,” or “used a piece as a whipping post” because some find it more intuitive to imagine physical relationships than to glean emotional fuel, particularly with abstract work.
In Louise Fishman’s upcoming show at Cheim & Read in New York City, the physicality of her paintings is the first thing viewers notice. Blocked areas of color show the accumulated time Fishman spent scraping and re-working each shade. There’s a speed about her pieces, but not in a way that feels hurried. The paint textures show a balance of patience and firm command, played out in harmonious palettes.
Part of the pleasure in viewing Fishman’s work is picturing how she danced with each canvas while coaxing it to life. Layers of similar scraped tones show through each piece, all of them deliberate and welcome. Were we to judge the artist by her work, we’d guess she’s equal parts fun and not-to-be-fucked-with, and it’s a huge turn-on.
While we admittedly seek out the erotic and sensual notes in every sip of culture, we love feeling drunk on the visceral qualities of Fishman’s paintings. As you peruse the images below (or go see the paintings for yourself from September 7 through October 28), we invite you to imagine the paintings as they were being made, and the movement behind each one.