The David Winton Bell Gallery presents Richard Fishman What Remains, on view September 6 – October 29, 2017. What Remains includes sculpture created over the past two years and records a period of transition as the artist moved beyond his well-known Elm Tree Project. Carbon composite, which appears in his work as early as 2009, takes primacy. The elm slabs are cast in or covered over with carbon composite. While the earlier slabs retain their association with the wood surface, as time passes and the series progresses, the link to the organic is broken. The black surfaces of the large slabs are marked alternately, by the inherent pattern of carbon fiber fabric, by a sensuous and rich matte black, or—in an grouping of near-identical planks—by high-gloss surfaces that reflect and mirror light sources and viewers.
The meditative calm of the slabs finds a counterpoint in the swirling lines, thorny texture, and prickly appendages of Fishman's recent freestanding sculptures. Here the artist drapes and wraps resin-coated carbon fiber over armatures of wood or metal, creating surfaces that are stiff and shiny and twisted. Appendages protrude slightly or become spear-like.
Fishman’s experiments in art reach back to the 1960s. Since then, he has created works in a variety of materials from traditional metals to objects found in nature: stones, shells, and coral, bone and skeletons, butterflies (long before Damien Hirst), plants, and notably, over the past decade, elm wood.
Malcolm Grear Designers created the exhibition identity, promotional materials, and installation graphics.