The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Friday, May 7, 2021

Spruth Magers presents an exhibition of works by Eric Fischl
Installation view, Eric Fischl, 'Complications From an Already Unfulfilled Life', Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles, June 19 - August 30, 2019 © Eric Fischl Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- For over four decades, Eric Fischl has produced uncompromising images of American society, as seen through the lens of middle and upper class malaise. Figures routinely share space on his canvases, yet their gazes rarely meet; even when they do, through composition, pose and gesture, they are trapped in the midst of strained exchanges that in turn impel the viewer to examine his or her own relationships and sense of self. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are presenting Complications From an Already Unfulfilled Life, the first solo exhibition of Fischl’s paintings in Los Angeles in twenty-five years, and his first with the gallery. The exhibition includes a series of recent works centered on bodies of water: pools, oceans and lakeside views provide the settings for images of aspiration, desire, frivolity and ennui.

Fischl’s virtuosic technique is as apparent as ever in these new works. Using a combination of densely layered washes, quick improvisational strokes, subtle lines of dripping paint, and areas of canvas left untouched, the artist displays his impressive ability to render flesh, light, reflection and liquid in a style that remains entirely his own. He attended the California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s at a moment when painting was considered a medium in crisis, and immersed in the school’s conceptually oriented milieu—generated by professors such as Allan Kaprow and John Baldessari—he never received formal training as a painter. He therefore developed his own painterly vocabulary, devising an idiosyncratic approach to building compositions progressively and intuitively using a range of marks, skewed perspectives, and charged emotional and psychological content.

It is this incessant tension, which Fischl builds into each canvas through the interrelations between his characters and the spaces they occupy, that forms the core of his oeuvre and has continually set his work apart amid an ever-shifting field of contemporary art. In The Exchange (2019), two standing figures frame the work vertically, staring off in separate directions, absorbed in their own thoughts and dialogues. Creating a horizontal axis below them are another couple, their hands overlapping but their lines of vision interrupted by the man’s uncomfortable grimace. Complicating the composition yet further is the expansive sky that plunges to the bottom of the canvas, with no horizon line in sight. Palm trees whip in an intense wind that doesn’t seem to affect the figures, as if this were a movie-studio backdrop. As with so many of Fischl’s paintings, he offers only hints at a narrative, and our natural instinct as viewers is to flesh one out despite knowing there may in fact be none to discover.

Though pools and beaches suggest a certain level of financial achievement and freedom, they are no longer signs of upper class belonging, so much as the desire and scramble for upward mobility that affects many Americans. This commonplace quality extends to the bodies of Fischl's characters. Some do have idealized figures, including the voluptuous woman snapping a suggestive selfie in The Artist's Assistant (2018), or the limber couple and baby in Unwinding (2018), who adopt the postures of a modern day Grecian Laocoön. Yet most have the same sagging areas, aging features and asymmetry that characterize the majority of men and women, adding another level of self-recognition and approachability to Fischl's nonetheless enigmatic scenes. The partly deflated turtle pool float in Something Lost (2018) might be seen as an allegory for the capitalist human condition in the early twenty-first century, and for the exhibition's message overall: things feel half empty, out of breath and darkly comical, but a still-attractive synthetic sheen.

To form his alluring compositions, Fischl regularly works from a compendium of imagery compiled over time, both from photographic sources and memories, many of which have included water. Figures that he encountered in the past may work their way into canvases years later, or elements might repeat across different works, such as the red dock in both Complications From an Already Unfulfilled Life (2019) and A Surprising Sense of Urgency (2019), which applies compositional, and by extension psychological, pressure onto the tremulous waters and figures below them. In the context of Los Angeles, the notion of water takes on new layers of meaning, not only due to the city’s proximity to the Pacific and its ongoing history of drought, but also in the omnipresence of pools, from commonplace apartment-complex watering holes to the luxurious water features in the homes of the rich and famous. Yet, far from suggesting a clichéd relationship to the city—despite a few glimpses of palm trees and bikinis—Fischl’s new paintings continue his forthright examination of missed human connections, nostalgia, ego and the struggle to “make it” in America.

Eric Fischl (*1948, New York, NY, USA) lives and works in Sag Harbor, NY. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Solo exhibitions of his work include those at the Albertina, Vienna (2014); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Malaga, Spain (2010); Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2007-08); Stadtkirche Darmstadt (2006); Delaware Center of Contemporary Art, Wilmington (2006); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2003); Aarhus Kunstmuseum (1991); and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1990), as well as two major international traveling exhibitions early in his career in 1985 and 1986. He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions worldwide at institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Seoul Museum of Art; Nagasaki Prefectural Museum; Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; as well as the XIIIč Biennale de Paris (1985) and the 41st Venice Biennale (1984).

Today's News

July 17, 2019

'One giant leap': United States marks Apollo mission 50 years on

Sotheby's hosts major exhibition celebrating the émigrés who transformed the British art world

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art explores the role of the vase in art

Benin readies for return of treasures taken by France

The Brooklyn Museum opens 'Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper'

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts adds major work by Tony Cragg to its collection

Sotheby's to offer the Collection Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, the 'Last Queen of Paris'

South African anti-apartheid singer Johnny Clegg dies aged 66

Christie's offers meteorites from the Stifler Collection

Pace/MacGill moves to Pace Gallery's new headquarters at 540 West 25th Street

Spruth Magers presents an exhibition of works by Eric Fischl

Hauser & Wirth opens an exhibition of modern and contemporary works by important female artists

More than 100 artworks added to PAFA's permanent collection at recent Collections Committee meeting

Terra Foundation adds Raymond J. McGuire and Jay Xu to Board of Directors

Meijer Gardens announces hiring of Curator of Sculpture and Sculpture Exhibitions

Pérez Art Museum Miami announces first Caribbean Cultural Institute, with $1M gift from Mellon Foundation

$100 bill worth $1 million to be auctioned

The Winter Show 2020 loan exhibition will feature masterworks from across the Hispanic world

French MPs agree Notre-Dame restoration as controversy swirls

Bart van der Heide appointed Director at Museion, Bolzano

Solo exhibition by New York based artist Josh Sperling on view at Perrotin

'Material Landscape, Social Landscape: Human Presence' on view at Kunstraum LLC

Gold, silver & bronze medals among Olympic memorabilia up for auction

Lark Mason Associates Sale of Lalique, Baccarat and other Fine Glass achieves $592,883

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful