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ARTCAT

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Louise Fishman: Five Decades

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Tilton Gallery
8 East 76th Street, 212-737-2221
Upper East Side
September 5 - October 13, 2012
Reception: Wednesday, September 5, 6 - 8 PM
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Tilton Gallery is pleased to announce the scheduling of an historical exhibition of paintings by Louise Fishman opening September 5th. “Louise Fishman: Five Decades” is curated by Simon Watson, who has worked with the artist on five exhibitions over the past 30-years.

For this exhibition the Jack Tilton gallery will be divided into thematic zones of historical works from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Works on view will include:

  • Shaped canvases from a solo show at Nancy Hoffman Gallery (1972);
  • Circle paintings from a group show at Paula Cooper Gallery (1972);
  • A painting from the Whitney Annual (1973), her first museum showing;
  • The “Angry Women” paintings of 1973, which were seen most recently in 2008 at PS1/MoMA’s Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution; and
  • “Remembrance & Renewal” paintings relating to the Holocaust, exhibited at the Simon Watson Gallery (1989).

Since 1966, Louise Fishman has been on a personal exploration that allies the themes of feminism, Judaism, and queerness with a visual vocabulary touching on a wide range of expressionist modes of abstraction: from making and breaking the grid to text and calligraphy. Fishman’s work of the 1970’s ranged from grid paintings, to cut wood paintings, stitched grids and handwritten/hand-painted messages.

Now seventy-three, Fishman is from a generation of artists that includes Lynda Benglis, Mary Heilmann, Bill Jensen, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden, Robert Ryman, and Pat Steir. While Fishman shares similarities with this group of mostly abstract artists, she retains a unique approach to her medium. Known for energetic surfaces of layered color and texture, Fishman’s paintings radiate emotional intensity while offering unpretentious subtlety and nuance. They divulge how shifts in color, composition and work process discreetly rework their visual impact. They demonstrate high energy and an accent on process, discovering the visual idea through the process of creating it.

Further, Fishman’s 1973 “Angry Women” series was instrumental in her turn towards gesture. The highly charged paintings that comprise the series each represent (by name) important women: heroes, lovers, and friends. They are emotional, messy and expressionistic, as they aspire to reclaim territory long governed by male artists. Fishman’s subsequent embrace of gestural abstraction was an affront to traditional art history, specifically to American male painters’ domination of Abstract Expressionism. In addition, her disregard for postmodern discourse (“painting is dead”) repositioned and reinvigorated abstract painting, helping to free it from old associations with the prevailing canon.

“Louise Fishman: Five Decades” at Jack Tilton Gallery will be contemporaneous with an exhibition of new paintings by the artist at Cheim & Read it will be Fishman’s seventh solo exhibition with Cheim & Read.

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