Complications From An Already Unfulfilled Life
June 19–August 30, 2019
For over four decades, Eric Fischl has produced uncompromising images of American society, as seen through the lens of middle and upper class malaise. Figures routinely share space on his canvases, yet their gazes rarely meet; even when they do, through composition, pose and gesture, they are trapped in the midst of strained exchanges that in turn impel the viewer to examine his or her own relationships and sense of self. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to present Complications From an Already Unfulfilled Life, the first solo exhibition of Fischl’s paintings in Los Angeles in twenty-five years, and his first with the gallery. The exhibition includes a series of recent works centered on bodies of water: pools, oceans and lakeside views provide the settings for images of aspiration, desire, frivolity and ennui.
Fischl’s virtuosic technique is as apparent as ever in these new works. Using a combination of densely layered washes, quick improvisational strokes, subtle lines of dripping paint, and areas of canvas left untouched, the artist displays his impressive ability to render flesh, light, reflection and liquid in a style that remains entirely his own. He attended the California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s at a moment when painting was considered a medium in crisis, and immersed in the school’s conceptually oriented milieu—generated by professors such as Allan Kaprow and John Baldessari—he never received formal training as a painter. He therefore developed his own painterly vocabulary, devising an idiosyncratic approach to building compositions progressively and intuitively using a range of marks, skewed perspectives, and charged emotional and psychological content.