One of the most respected painters of her generation, Fishman is known for her gestural, brushed, scraped, layered, smeared, raw and dynamic surfaces, which radiate with energy and movement.
Born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Fishman grew up during the height of Abstract Expressionism. Her mother and aunt were artists, and her childhood was steeped in art history and artistic discourse. An active participant in the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, Fishman embraced painting at a moment when many claimed it was ‘dead.’ Her decisive re-appropriation of gestural abstraction was an affront not only to Ab-Ex’s patriarchal lineage, but to postmodernism’s didactic conceptualism.
Her work from early 70’s is little known. This is what we propose to address by presenting for the first time at an international art fair a selection of work from her personal archive.
The works selected for Frieze New York give an insight into Fishman’s formalism, the grid and its geometry. Even at this early stage in her career she is breaking away from the pack—the grid strains against the organic and calligraphic marks, which fight it, resulting in compositions of complex spatial interplay. In works like Untitled, 1969 the grid structure is visible in the over-layered, cut-up and re-purposed pieces of painted canvas or board, which are collaged and distorted by swaths and scrapes of thick, shades of dark grey, Prussian blue, greens and blacks.