Dean Fisher New Cupboard 26″ x 42″ Oil on Panel
Dean Fisher is a Connecticut-based still life and figure painter who has been included in 3 group exhibitions at the Hirschl & Adler Modern in Manhattan. He has also exhibited with the Tatistcheff Gallery. Recently I got the chance to see a few of his still lifes and figure paintings showing in a group show at the Sarah Bain Gallery in Anaheim, CA
The stark arrangements of tea cups and saucers in the cupboard interested me most. I was drawn to interesting tensions between the vaporous atmosphere and the solidity of the forms. There are many subtle plays on the horizontal and vertical relationships, balancing acts between the characters playing out their formal dramas in the cupboard stage set. These paintings bring to mind some of the still lives of the Spanish magic realist painters such as Antonio Lopez Garcia cupboard painting and Isabel Quintanilla paintings.
Large Cupboard 34 x 58 inches Oil on Linen
Please click for larger view (note: all the rest of the images in this article have a larger view if clicked)
Dean Fisher’s color tends to be more tonal in emphasis with restrained color harmonies. He seems to have a particular fondness for cool green accents. These are carefully made and intelligent paintings that orchestrate sharp to soft edges – balancing the sharp to the softer edges that that blend into the background helps suggest the space and atmosphere between the objects. Punctuations of bright highlights glint and sparkle through the painting adding further interest. The hazy atmospheric shallow space appears to envelope the forms and occasionally seems to creep forward onto the picture frame – asserting the painting as a 2D object and not just an illusion of space and form.
There is a textural treatment to the backgrounds and accentuation of the paint surface that remind me of Walter Murch’s still-life backgrounds. Occasionally broken spots of more saturated color leap forward and interrupt gradations and may risk confusing the reading of space or how the light falls on the background. I also get a bit nervous whenever brushstrokes become so prominent as to start to appear mannered. There is enough material for visual and emotional intensity in the process of painting itself, the search for the right tone, the exact placement, the perfect harmony and unity – the marks left behind – laying witness to the struggle to achieve the artist’s vision are far more interesting to me than mark making made to enliven or for their own sake. The danger is that brush marks might call too much attention to themselves and appear to be consciously created for artistic affect rather than the naturalistic “rightness” you get from the pools and splatters on the floor left over from a bloody battle. The large cupboard seems to avoid this issue and has a rightness about it, that this was a naturally occurring event that is remarkable. While my preference is with the still-lives, his figures are also marvelously drawn and the forms solidly rendered, these are very accomplished paintings.