Skarstedt is pleased to present Eric Fischl: Meditations on Melancholia, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper on view beginning October 27, 2020 at Skarstedt, 19 East 64th Street.
Predominantly blue, Fischl’s palette of sea and sky frame single and multi-figure scenes unified under a foreboding threat. Amidst tender moments and inexplicable joys, Fischl’s hints of hope glint through a darkened horizon – articulating the nuance and challenges of this incomparable moment.
Encircled within the American flag, a mother embraces her child balancing on the tip of her toes, protecting her from an ominous sky. Late America 2, a continuation of Fischl’s 2017 exhibition in response to the preceding presidential election, abstracts the tensions that mirror a society in crisis. Now, four years later, Fischl returns to many of the same motifs, this time removing the familiarity of a suburban pool or domestic interior, leaving his figures to float allegorically in ambiguous landscapes.
With a nod to Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia from 2011, in which normal life proceeds as the end of the world imminently approaches, Fischl parallels our collective experience. A mixture of confusion, discouragement, cluelessness, and ironic humor convey complexities within the simplest interactions – Like Explaining the End of the World to a Dog illustrates these misgivings. Hands up in a gesture of exasperation, a child looks down to a dog, who innocently stares back, lazily scratching behind its ear. Though her attempts to communicate are fruitless, a halo of white framing her head imbues her with a divine sense. Her efforts are carried out nonetheless, connecting poignantly with the impossibility of reaching basic understanding with those who may listen, but cannot comprehend.
Pushing aside self-imposed limits, Fischl loosens his approach to painting by introducing the combined use of oil and acrylic paints within his work, producing both a blend and clash of textures as well as a fluidity similar to his recent works on photo paper also on view.