Through May 23, 2011.
Naomi Fisher captures her compelling images in a variety of media. Fisher trained as a painter, and she remains dedicated to the practice, making plein-air watercolors and sketches of, among other subjects, landscapes, plants and birds. She is just as adept at realizing figures and dream imagery in her studio paintings. She is also well-known for her photographs combining bodies and botany in sensual and erotic tableaux. More recently Fisher has began exhibiting semi-narrative video works that are a logical synthesis and extension of her image-making practice.
There is “Fisher, the photographer,” and “Fisher, the painter.” But perhaps the most productive way to approach her practice is to consider “Fisher, the artist.” Separating Fisher’s works by medium denies them a more productive, holistic relationship. Moreover, the varied mediums Fisher engages freely feed each other: painted canvases use film and video stills as visual references, painterly uses of color, gesture, and image cropping are evident in her camera work, and pictures come to life in her videos. These bodies of work are engaged in a compelling conversation.
A sense of wildness in Fisher’s work is cultivated in the way that one might forage through the woods or a vintage shop – a comfortable and shaggy utopia prevails throughout. The frisson in Fisher’s work comes from the way in which she comfortably combines modes and methods of representation against-the-grain. The grit in the oyster is what becomes a pearl. Myakka, P.B., SKINT, Island, 2011, is a Romantic female portrait in toned-down grays and earthy, elemental washes of color, punctuated with dashes of fluorescent paint and sparkle. A woman’s face stares out from the painting’s depths, and is overlaid with an image of a long-haired, sinewy figure who fits over her face like a puzzle piece. The image calls to mind Surrealist painting, the cut-and-paste aesthetic of punk ‘zines, and Toulouse-Lautrec in successive waves.
Though her paintings may look effortless, they are the result of exhaustive advance studies in charcoal and watercolor through which Fisher hones her vision and familiarizes herself with her subjects. Some tries are eventually discarded, but those that succeed share a sense of vision that communicates with an audience in the same way as they communicate the artist’s intent: they become convincing, autonomous images with lives of their own.
In Morning, 2010, a group of figures are gathered together in what seems to be a ritual event. Painted over an acidic yellow background in warm oranges and reds, and cool greys, lavender and leaf green, the image seems to be disintegrating in the light. The background seems to be emerging through the figures, and they’re rendered crystalline and immaterial by the effect. And for all of it’s immateriality, this image of Fisher’s comes from real life: the image itself depicts a group of the artists collaborators involved in a process of creating a world of their own.
The artist’s recent single-channel video Myakka, 2011 is the result of a 13-day long outing and collaboration with artists and friends at the Myakka State Park in Florida, where the Florida Wild and Scenic Myakka River (its real name) flows through wetlands, woodlands and prairies. Over the course of the excursion, the group lived in a community of log cabins made from felled palms, and collaborated to create and record a series of rituals, choreographies and events. The video suggests only the loosest of narratives – self-sufficiency, a movement-based practice, and group-initiations among them – while the figures in it traverse lines between being scripted characters, and just being themselves. Overlaid with a selection of witchy soundtracks of cackling voices and cracking synth by the group SKINT, the video intentionally avoids narrative conclusion, in favor of sharing with viewers a sense of the process, investigation, and exploration by which the work came into being.
Naomi Fisher’s work weaves together a scintillating and well-worn fabric from threads that include video, painting and photography. It functions like a net through which we can see the world beyond; one made that much more beautiful by its veiled framework.
Fredric Snitzer Gallery
2247 NW 1st Place
Miami, FL 33127