Essay: Eric Fischl's Works

Pages: 5 (1479 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)  ·  Buy This Paper

Eric Fischl's Works

"Eric Fischl": Introduction

Eric Fischl was born in New York City in 1948 and grew up on suburban Long Island. His family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1967. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, NS. In 1978 he returned to New York. It was there that he began to paint his often unsettling naturalistic and realistic works. His subject matter of his paintings was unusual in that they were almost exclusively scenes and images of middle-class suburban life.

The ambiance of the images and the atmosphere of contemporary suburbia is one of the hallmarks of his work, as well as the often lavish style of his oils, watercolors and prints. Many critics refer to his historical artistic lineage in terms of style and technique as including the works of Manet, Balthus and Edward Hopper (Art Encyclopedia: Eric Fischl). However, one must also take into account the influence of photorealism in the 1060s which is particularly evident in many of his later works. Critical assessments of his work refer to the primacy of image over content in many of his paintings and artworks. This is a debatable aspect that will form part of the theme of the proposed exhibition.

The theme of ambiguous experience is also increased by the hints of sexuality that pervade many of the works. What made his works even more controversial and noticed in the art world was that they often contained veiled but obvious sexuality; such as the painting entitled Master Bedroom (1983). In this work a nearly naked young girl kneels on a double bed with her arms around a large dog. The subtle hint of sensuality seems to clash with the obvious suburban flavor of the image. It is essentially this incongruity and the effects of a juxtaposition of the ordinary and the strange that this exhibition wishes to highlight.

2. Proposal for a small exhibition of Eric Fischl's work

Title of the exhibition: The Unsaid Experience

The following selection of works by Eric Fischl is intended to highlight central thematic trajectories in his career -- particularly the theme of the unsaid experience. This refers to the narrative and voyeuristic quality of the works which will be further expanded on in the following section.

1.Cargo Cults, 1984

2. Beautiful Day, 2006

3. By the River, 1989

4. Beach Scene With Pink Hat 2006

5. Scenes From Paradise: The Parade 2006

6.Portrait of The Artist 1998

3. Educational pamphlet explaining the exhibition

The overall intention of this exhibition is to provide insight and motivate discussion about the meaning and significance of these works. The theme of the exhibition is based on a telling quotation from his online biography:

"Against a backdrop of alcoholism and a country club culture obsessed with image over content, Fischl became focused on the rift between what was experienced and what could not be said." ( Eric Fischl: Bio) This refers to a seperation, a mysterious gap, between the experience that is represented and the aspects of that experience that cannot be known or said and which are ambiguous or shrouded in mystery. It also refers to the theme of mundane suburbia that runs through his work, and which is strangely transgressed by voyeuristic views and sexual innuendo.

This refers as well to the moody and unsettling quality of the works and their relationship to the unknown or unsaid. The above selection of paintings needs to be explained in terms of the apparent contradiction between the highly naturalistic and even photorealistic quality of his images and the obscure. For example, in the beach paintings such as Cargo Cult, Beach Scene With Pink Hat, and Scenes From Paradise: The Parade 2006, we encounter rich and sensuous images of middle-aged people who are involved in conversations and activities that we cannot quite comprehend. The narrative is clear but obscured. Furthermore, the figures are often in various stages of undress and nudity, which adds to the sensual and voyeuristic mood of the works. In Cargo Cult the figures are painted luxuriously against an azure background. Some of the figures are in conversation and this again provides a sense of being privy to something that is not quite understood. Furthermore, what makes the scene even more ambiguous and mysterious is the nude figure in the foreground of the painting. This figure provides a sense of incongruity and is sharply… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Eric Fischl's Works.  (2009, November 30).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/eric-fischl-works/1950294

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"Eric Fischl's Works."  Essaytown.com.  November 30, 2009.  Accessed May 25, 2019.
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