Beverly Fishman, Dividose: C.t.B., 2002, 3 panels, 42 x 62 1/2 inches, 106,7 x 158,8 cm, vinyl and powder coated-aluminium
Fantastic advances in science have always been the source of Beverly Fishman’s inspiration. These works from 2002-2003 depict diagrams of heartbeats, coloured pills, cells in isolation or in networks, IT frameworks and great voids saturated with colour.
She is an artist who questions the nature of our relationship with technologies used to treat our bodies and our health – one that seems to involve both attraction and fear.
Colour is the first thing that rivets our attention – her colours are unbelievably powerful and luminous – they dazzle one like a light source. The artist designs her works on a computer, and manages to materialise the brightness of digital colours by using industrial gloss paints on metal.
Her pictures are usually made up of two to five superimposed horizontal panels. Each part describes its own world, so that the whole works rather like a patchwork, or a bank of video screens. This horizontal arrangement is reinforced by horizontal spaces of colour and by horizontal and vertical IT framework cards. Her compositions are meticulously geometrical, and the term Digital-Geo is used by critics to describe her work, implying that they belong to a current movement that extends and builds on the Neo-geo painting. This geometric arrangement is counterbalanced both by an aquatic biomorphic of cells floating in an indeterminate way in infinite space, and by diagrams that cut through the geometry with their diagonals and acute angles. Medicinal pills with rounded shapes and coloured like children’s sweets contribute to this the works’ charm and visual pleasure.
Yet the colours still dazzle us like harsh lights in an operating theatre. The glossy metallic paints are clean, neutral, cold and featureless. We are not far here from Huxley’s Brave New World. Beverly Fishman may be showing us the pills of happiness, but the cardiogram images remind us that this is not mere play, and that tragedy is here too in the reality of death.
Beverly Fishman’s new pictures drew much attention at the exhibition called Post-Digital Painting put on by the Cranbrook Art Museum in early 2003, a reference exhibition of the work of painters who have lately adopted new technologies in the service of their creative work. Beverly Fishman had her first one man show in Great Britain, at the Wellcome Trust’s Two Ten Gallery in London.
Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard publishes a monograph on Beverly Fishman’s with an essay by Joe Houston.