The Raft 2007 Eric Fischl Oil on Linen

Impasto. Light. Colour. When combined, these elements add dimension and depth to a work of art, to painting. The brush stroke provides the pacing in which the work was made. The light provides the life force the image beholds; a sliver for a glimmer, bathed for dazzling. Colour provides the weight or intensity of the emotion depicted, including the artist’s own in creation.

American painter, Eric Fischl, is all these things; impasto, light, colour. He is pacing, living, dazzling, observant and authentic. He is the outsider looking in, and maybe even enjoying things he shouldn’t; private situations others are unaware of his intrusion. The voyeur who blends in with his content, and thus, turns the painting’s audience into part of the meaning of the painting.

Fischl’s newest works of the Beach Scenes are of people-watching. Small bodies, big bodies, naked bodies, tanned bodies, pasty bodies; swimmers and bathers. There are the young and the old. The bikini clad; the sailing attire. Wispy wraps and surfer shorts. Sun hats and glasses.

The shadows salute to summer’s heat. The breeze from the water mists hair damp. The mix of hot and wet, seductive to skin. Coverings are small and thin. Inhibitions are abandoned. If one is this close to being exposed why not go all the way?

Beach Scenes is about the exposed, through exposure.

The vulnerability exhibited in the series is not about the layers the subjects have off, but of the ones they have on; the impasto, light, and colour. Fischl’s and our own observation. A celebration of the human form and ritual, sunbathing, sailing and surfing. Part-time people vacationing from their full-time persona. Beach Scenes observing them as who they really are.


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