Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Louise Fishman

No blog in the last couple of days?  It's true.  I think it's just been too cold and gloomy outside and the only comfort I could find was in my studio...sitting in the office writing at the computer meant looking out the window. 

Our weather has gone from nice to ice in no time.  A few days ago it was 64 degrees outside.  Right now it is -1.  No.  You did not hallucinate the minus sign there.  It could be worse.  There could be more than an inch of snow on the ground in the bargain...something a lot of people in the Midwest are dealing with at the moment.  All I can say is...brrrr!

And.  Be careful out there.

I have been thinking about writing this post for the last couple of days when I have managed to brave the window.  The artist I have been researching is Louise Fishman.  There is an interview out on the web (Oral history interview with Louise Fishman, 2009 Dec. 21, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) that has a lot of information about Louis Fishman's life and work.  The following are some quotes from that interview along with some images of Fishman's work:
". . . . I was the only real painter-painter. I was doing traditional painting. I didn't understand what the connection was, but I liked it being in that context, because I think that I get misplaced a lot of times. People . . . . they think of me as being very traditional. I think I'm really not . . . . they always link me to Joan Mitchell and Bill Jensen now . . . . there are connections, but that's sort of a dead end in a way. It feels like it."
©Louise Fishman - Untitled 1971
"I seem to start a group of [paintings] and go back and forth for a while. And then usually one painting becomes prominent in my mind, and then I often put the others away for a while or stop working on them. Sometimes I have to put them away so I don't look at them much. And I continue working on one. And then I need a break. I bring another one out, and I go back and forth a little bit until - yes, so there is a kind of - a little bit of a dialogue between them."
©Louise Fishman - Angry Paintings 1973
©Louise Fishman - Tabernacle 1981
"The way I choose color is really like, how I'm going to use this and this, that. A lot of colors sort of come together from one painting to another. And it's just like a buildup. It's almost like adding clay, and it keeps changing. The color keeps changing. And - but I'm not relying on that black and white or that value structure the way I used to and the color was really just an addendum. The color is more on its own, or the hues are more complicated. There's more complex meaning in them in the way they interact with the whole. They are taking more of a place. They have their own identity."
©Louise Fishman - Slippery Slope 2006
"It's all like a chain of things . . . . it's sort of my interest in those Native American cultures, the architecture; the space is the sipapu and the mountain - the Navajos living right up against the mountain, the whole business about rocks and the mountains.  . . . . and a lot of it came from China, the ideas about the mountain. I, you know, think it's Eastern, all that continents moving apart and so on. So it made a lot of sense to me."
©Louise Fishman - Night Shining White 1998
"Well, a lot of people have referred to me, and actually, they think they're quoting me in saying that I'm a second-generation or third-generation Abstract Expressionist . . . . I never said that. Somebody else said it, and somebody quoted it. And it just got carried down . . . . And I never knew how to go about correcting that. But that's not true. I don't think of myself as an Abstract Expressionist. I think that I have roots there. I have roots in Cezanne. I think I have roots in a lot of places . . . ."
© Louise Fishman - Wintereisse 2002
". . . . Easier and harder. What's easier is my skill level. What's harder is to - skill is less and less useful in terms of what makes a good painting, for me, and probably for a lot of people, because it's not about making beautiful paintings. It's about something else. It's about making something that really has a life and has something that's inspiring. I don't really know how to talk about it exactly, but it's that. It's like, hey, yeah, well, it's rough, but it's so deep to me. One painting, Cooked and Burnt [2007], it was called, and I thought, that's really good. It is really - I'm happy I did that. It just felt - it had everything in it. It was not a beautiful painting. It was just so real somehow."
© Louise Fishman - Cooked and Burnt 2007
"TM [Transcendental Meditation] was just like a way of calming myself down and centering myself.  . . . .I started going on retreats.  . . . .I think a lot of artists have done that, because it's a very dicey life. I mean, all of our lives are dicey. But I think making art and trying to survive emotionally, the people, the world, and your work, all of that is - and we tend - I think probably most of the artists tend to be - to have their own fragility that's - I don't know if it's more than other people, but I know that there is a fragility in there. And . . . . one has to keep a balance of the unsettled stuff. It has to be there. You can't fix it. It's just what it is."
©Louis Fishman - Troubles Overcome are Good to Tell 1997
"I don't do drawings or prints with the intention of making a painting from them, ever. But they find their way later. Often it's stuff I wouldn't do in painting yet, because there's - it's easier to throw color into them. It's easier to have new, kind of, configurations in them. And they may occur in paintings and they get painted out, but - and then they'll show up. So I noticed that that process really does affect the paintings later. And they are - there is a freshness, and there's stuff that comes up in the drawings that shows other parts of my work that I think could shed light on what the paintings are about and not what people often think they're about."
©Louise Fishman - Untitled 2011
from the Venice Watercolors
Hope you enjoyed today's post and you are managing to stay warm.

'Til tomorrow!


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