Skarstedt Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition, Eric Fischl: Early Paintings which will open Thursday May 5th and be on view through June 18th, 2011. Comprised of nine paintings dating from 1979 to 1989, this exhibition aims to reintroduce the works that characterized Fischl’s early body of work and distinguished him as a postmodern American painter. In these paintings Fischl depicts scenes from everyday life in suburban America including back yard barbeques, beach resorts and intimate interiors. Seemingly harmless in subject matter, the suburban backdrop becomes a lens through which Fischl explores psychologically charged themes such as the loss of innocence, impulse, sexuality and the transience of life.
In Squirt from 1982, an adolescent boy points a toy squirt gun at woman sun tanning by a back-yard pool. The sun-drenched scene is both playful and aggressive with an underlying sexual tension. While the relationship between the targeted woman, who lies topless, and the boy is unclear, the ambiguous nature of the scene draws the viewer into a voyeuristic moment. The Old Man’s Boat and the Old Man’s Dog depicts a debaucherous picture of people lying on a boat, fishing, and drinking beer. The indulgent sunbathers portray a scene of decadence and passivity as they are impervious to the ominous sky and incoming wave. Within this disturbing scene, the naked beer drinker has a deadpan gaze that directly meets the eyes of the viewer, thus inviting them into the reckless orgy. In each of the paintings in this exhibition the audience is confronted with the disconcerting juxtaposition of the inner conflict of Fischl’s subjects contrasted with the commonplace of the external world.
American painter, sculptor draughtsman and printmaker, Eric Fischl is considered one of the most important figures of postmodern art of the 1980’s. Born in New York City in 1948, Fischl moved to Port Washington, Long Island when he was two years old. He attended Phoenix College and earned his B.F.A. from the California Institute for the Arts in 1972. Fischl’s works have been the subject of numerous solo and major group show exhibitions and his work is represented in many museums and private collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles among others.