George Fischer

Biography

(American, born 1956)

“The tension between the artistic traditions of realism and abstraction is nowhere more acute than in the art of George Fischer. Born in Chicago in 1956, he honed his natural drawing gifts by training at Chicago’s American Academy of Art, a conservative institution whose rigorous program is based in 19th-century realist practices. Fischer’s technical facility is unexcelled, and he became a master of still-life, landscape, and figurative studies. But the complacency of this approach bothered him. He made a break in the early 1990s, coinciding with his move to New Mexico, when he began to explore a more complex attitude toward imagery.

Jostling images and improvising associations more intuitively, he became a visual poet. Articles of clothing, household utensils, fancy decorated cakes and pies, children’s toys, and gardening implements were juxtaposed with natural twigs, roots, leaves, flowers, fruit, and vegetables in a private meditation on middle-class lifestyle and the cottage-garden presence of nature. Since he paints directly from his subjects, the arrangements were free-associational and yet painstakingly organized. Along the way, he began to re-evaluate his relationship to the larger tradition of the art of painting, and eventually he had to confront the legacy of formalist abstraction, which had been proscribed by his training. His engagement with the language of abstraction transformed his pictorial resources, expanding his vocabulary of visual forms as well as his painterly handling. The result is an extraordinary postmodernist hybrid, rich with possibilities.”

(Excerpt from essay by William Patterson, “George Fischer, Give and Take”)