"I start with the essential desire to animate an object, which means I try to give it some emotion and a gesture that becomes motion. So you twist it and turn it, you lift it, you do something that makes it move. Your hands have memory past whatever your head is thinking. They are feeling the memory of the thing, and when you step back you can get an incredibly emotional expression happening through gesture and surface."
- Robert Enright (in "Fischl on Fischl", Eric Fischl, 1970-2007, 2008)
McClain Gallery presents a new exhibition by American artist Eric Fischl, one of the leading artists in the return to figuration in the 1980s. Cast & Drawn spans nearly a decade of Fischl's work, and further explores the dialogue between the multiple disciplines: bronze, glass, watercolor and collage. The exhibition allows the rare opportunity of experiencing both his two-dimensional and three-dimensional work simultaneously.
As in the provocative suburban-set paintings for which Fischl is best known, the various figures in Cast & Drawn are psychologically charged and self-assuredly rendered. Cast in bronze and glass, the artist's expressionistic handling of flesh and musculature evokes comparisons to Rodin, Michelangelo and Giacometti. Sculpture has become a renaissance of sorts for Fischl and further affirms him as an artist with acute attention to detail and a profound command of the figure. In his watercolors pools and swaths of aqueous paint coalesce to form contours of body parts while his sculpture more directly references the figure, however, common among these is a lack of background or other context. In isolating the figure, he highlights a purity of form. Across media, the transformative quality among his work elucidates both the material and the content itself. Each figure, whether executed in watercolor, bronze or glass, possesses an elegant, but energetic presence.
Process is paramount in Fischl's studio practice as much in his paintings, watercolors, and sculptures as in his recent layered resin collages. Working with imagery culled from prior paintings, the artist creates hybrid compositions consisting of vivid figures printed on mylar arranged between layers of poured resin.
Recognized as one of the most influential American figurative painters, this vibrant installation of Fischl's two- and three-dimensional work illustrates his thorough mastery of the human figure and its translation into myriad materials. This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Hexton Modern and Contemporary.
Eric Fischl (b. 1948) was raised in suburban Long Island and received a BFA in painting at the California Institute for the Arts (1972). He moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1974 to teach painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and in 1978 he returned to New York. He attended the American Academy in Rome in 1997. Fischl's work has been included in exhibitions at venues including Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Málaga; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Guild Hall, East Hampton; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MoMA PS1, New York; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. His work is in the collections of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield; The Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Basel Kunsthalle, Basel; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Menil Collection, Houston; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among numerous others. He lives and works in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.