Beverly Fishman b. 1955, USA

Overview

Beverly Fishman employs a variety of techniques to explore technological, scientific, and biological systems of perception and representation, instigating constructive conversations about the ways people see their bodies and minds and form their identities.

 

Her most illustrious works engage with the visual language of the medical industrial complex. Her highly polished Pill reliefs utilize pharmaceutical forms as the basis for seemingly abstract compositions that radiate with color.

 

Her complex Dividose paintings appropriate the unsettling linear aesthetic of medical imaging technologies, such as EEG and EKG machines, provoking levels of optical fascination capable of eliciting physiological responses from viewers.

 

Fishman’s work poetically kindles the most pressing issues of our time: how humanity sees itself and allows itself to be seen; the extent to which technology alters our perception of ourselves; and the choice between altering our reality and altering our experience of it. Equally important are its formal aspects: its juxtaposition of colors and patterns; its evocative art historical references; and its oscillation between abstraction and representation. Of constant primacy is exactitude of craft, which elevates the work’s presence to heights equal to its conceptual depth.

 

Fishman’s materials list has included traditional supports, such as wood, paper, blown glass and aluminum, as well as unconventional elements, like cast resin, mirrored Plexiglass, powder-coated metal, and phosphorescent pigments. She also frequently uses mediums like chrome and urethane automotive paint that speak to the legacy of the Detroit area, where she lives and works.

 

Fishman served as the head of painting and as artist-in-residence at the Cranbrook Academy of Art for twenty-seven years. Recent major exhibitions of Fishman's work include I Dream of Sleep, Miles McEnery, New York, NY, USA; Future Perfect, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL, USA; Double Edged: Geometric Abstraction Then and Now, curated by Dr. Emily Stamey, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, USA; DOSE, curated by Nick Cave, CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY, USA; Pill Spill, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI, USA; and Beverly Fishman: In Sickness and in Health, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, USA. Fishman has recieved numerous awards, including the 2018 Anonymous Was A Woman Award; the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; and the NEA Fellowship Grant. Work by Fishman is included in the collections of the MacArthur Foundation, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Chrysler Museum of Art, and many others.

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