In a new series of visually provocative abstractions, Beverly Fishman explores the fast evolving relationship between our bodies and contemporary technology. Her vibrantly colored paintings and sculptures have their genesis in diverse patterns and iconography drawn from scientific imaging systems and pharmaceutical packaging. By manipulating and layering these representational traces of the body into dense, psychedelic compositions, Fishman raises questions about the vulnerability of human identity in an in an increasingly digitized and electronically-mediated world.
Beverly Fishman's paintings are configurations of horizontal panels of polished stainless steel, each containing dense visual fields woven from neural imagery, sound waves, EEG graphs and other technological data. These accumulate into optically dazzling moiré patterns that are interrupted by images of drug capsules and molecular symbols. Painted in enamel on mirrored metal, the dynamic surfaces mingle with the reflections of spectators in the surrounding environment, allowing us to view our own fractured image in the multiple panels. The "Dividose" paintings, so named for multi-tab pills designed for user-controlled dosages, evoke what art historians and imaging theorist Barbara Maria Stafford has called "a frenzied inscape...that captures both the effect and the seduction of such mood-altering substances. These works are what they represent: stimulants."
Fishman's Pill Spill, currently on display at the Detroit Institute of Art is an installation of unique glass capsule forms that take their cue from mood-altering drugs. Like her paintings, each of the hand blown elements juxtapose multiple patterns, surfaces, and hues into an arresting spectacle. In 2011, Pill Spill first took form as an installation of 120 capsules in the Toledo Museum of Art, installed in dialogue with the architecture of the museum's Glass Pavilion. The capsules are configured to underscore the viewer's personal relationship to pharmaceuticals. These tantalizing yet paradoxical medications -- glass capsules that won't dissolve -- remind us that medicine can be both a cure and a poison.
Beverly Fishman has exhibited internationally and has garnered numerous honors including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Last year she received the Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work is in many public collections including the Columbus Museum of Art, Detroit Art Institute of Arts, Miami Art Museum, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and Toledo Museum of Art.
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