On 11 February 2012, Mary Boone Gallery will open at both its Fifth Avenue and Chelsea locations an exhibition of portrait paintings by ERIC FISCHL.
Dating from 1992 to 2011, the works in the exhibition range from sketched portraits cropped to the face, to commanding single figures, to complex arrangements of couples, families, or groups. As in the fraught suburban scenes for which he first rose to prominence, with each approach to portraiture Fischl demonstrates his mastery of conjuring form and light from paint to communicate the psychological bearing of his subjects.
A highlight of the exhibition is three large group portraits painted at intervals of several years that depict the Artist and his circle of friends at the beach. The earliest, The Gang (2006), is a congregation of sun-enveloped bodies with paraphernalia suggesting an extended day of revelry. Saint Barts Ralph’s 70th (2009) presents a smaller group, parched in bright light, bags packed and seemingly on the move -- a record of transition that is echoed in the painting’s title. The third, the most recent work in the exhibition, is Self-Portrait: An Unfinished Work (2011), an unsettling painting-within-a-painting in which the Artist sits facing the viewer with his back to an unfinished canvas. Here, the friends Fischl portrays are pressed toward the front of the picture plane by dark rocks and waves. At the center of this group a conspicuously incomplete figure, presumably a surrogate for the Artist himself (who, until now, has been absent from the gatherings) hovers above the foreground self-portrait. Fischl allows us to see the Artist, so adept at capturing others, wrestling with seeing himself.
The exhibition, concurrently at 745 Fifth Avenue and at 541 West 24 Street, will run through 17 March 2012. A fully-illustrated catalogue with an essay by Dr. Richard Brilliant will be available at either location. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com.