Reception for the artist:
Thursday, March 6, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
DC Moore Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition Janet Fish: Panoply, which highlights major examples of the artist’s work from 1989 to 2008. Fish’s still lifes provide mesmerizing detail, and a captivating depiction of light and color, while hovering in a space between fluid painterliness and measured stillness. A catalogue with essay by Karli Wurzelbacher will accompany the exhibition.
Fish has said: “The real structure of the painting comes from the movement of color and light across the entire surface. What matters [to me] is the complex relationship of color and form from one area of the painting to another. Eventually everything is intertwined.”
Fish’s compositions are carefully considered, often rearranged and modified over the course of days, until they “feel right.” Though she would incorporate more spontaneity into the arrangement of later works, the interaction of objects has always been paramount, and her paintings are first and foremost aesthetic creations. The subject matter, while engaging on its own, is secondary in many cases. Movement is derived from a viewer’s juxtapositions within the scene: natural elements with the domestic, or living creatures with the inanimate.
One of the works on display, Anderson’s Fairy Tales, is playful, and highlights Fish’s ability to exquisitely paint a variety of objects, from glass, to the textured details of curtain lace, or the edges of a puzzle piece. Karli Wurzelbacher, in her catalogue essay, writes: “the expedient placement of a vase on an open book conjures a happy sense of disorder appropriate to the whimsy evoked by the title. As in fairytales, however, meaning is not all at the surface. The hopelessly scattered puzzle pieces – bits of abstraction that add up to a whole – allude to the pleasurable challenge of both piecing together and deconstructing an image, whether painting, illustration, or photography.”
In the end, regardless of the subject matter, and the interplays between objects, Fish’s paintings are aesthetic marvels. They highlight the ways in which of light, color, and shape render our world in every more pleasing combinations and visions. Very often Fish’s work imbues a contemporary feel into both energy and subject matter. Vincent Katz, in his book Janet Fish Paintings writes: “Her paintings of things can be seen as pure delight, beautiful objects that convey no message, that cause the mind to stop thinking and to contemplate the marvel before one’s eyes. That contemplation can go on for many years.”
Janet Fish was born in 1938 in Boston, but grew up in Bermuda, a places of bright light and intense color, to which she attributes her own fascination. Fish attended Smith College in Massachusetts, and received her Master’s in Fine Art from Yale University in 1963 at a time when the art school faculties focused on teaching Abstract Expressionism. She currently lives in New York City and rural Vermont. The landscape of Vermont, and the garden that she maintains there, often figure prominently in her paintings. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Huntsville Museum, Huntsville, AL and the Federal Reserve, Washington, DC. Works by Fish are included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the National Academy Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Farnsworth Art Museum, Maine; and the Art Institute of Chicago; among others.