Stephen Fisher was born in 1954 in Sunbury, Pa. and spent much of his childhood moving as a classic “army brat”. The semi official beginning of his artistic career can be traced to a deal with his parents in the seventh grade, agreeing to give up the trumpet in favor of correspondence school art lessons. He is, in fact, an actual graduate of the Famous Artists School. After false starts in interior design and architecture Fisher earned a B.F.A. in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University (1976) and an M.F.A. in printmaking from Yale University (1981). He resumed his traveling ways as an academic gypsy, teaching at five colleges in eight years before settling in at Rhode Island College in Providence as a Professor of Art where he specializes in printmaking and drawing, and aspires to the title of “Chief Printmaking Wizard”.
Fisher’s work has been exhibited in a variety of national and, occasionally, international venues and earned numerous awards in a wide range of competitions. His drawings and prints can be found in numerous public, corporate and private collections. Public recognition of Fisher’s efforts include a regional N.E.A. Fellowship, 3 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowships and a Graphic Media Achievement Award from American Artist Magazine.
Stephen Fisher currently resides in Warren, Rhode Island.
For some years my visual explorations have primarily focused on two major imagery genres (still life and landscape) in two technical modes (drawing and printmaking). Common to all the work is my obsession with intense perceptual rigor, compositional manipulation, the viscosity of light, and the tactile, sensual nature of materials.
Early on I decided that the arena of observation and representation are of primary interest to me. The problem has always been to find a way to transcend or extend the realism or literality of the depicted objects through the vehicle of essentially accurate representation. I’ve tried to bring my stubbornness and patience (one must exploit one’s strengths) to bear and delve deep into the innate complexities and paradoxes of perception and illusion. “Look harder, see more” has become my personal mantra.
Light is the tie that binds and the force that fractures. Light defines and coalesces the tangible world of objects and spaces. Therefore it is rigorous perceptual attention to nuances of value created by the action of that light that provides the key to illusion in my drawings and prints. Yet the same light also undermines the illusion by burning away the supposedly solid edges of objects, flattening spaces by asserting its own tangibility. Information gathered from intense observation reveals this simultaneous definition and dissolution of the world. Additional layers of illusion flicker in the world of reflections. Like a dream within a dream, the situation is concrete and familiar yet transitory and unsettled.
While still life situations are self consciously controlled, landscape presents an endless supply of unpredictable combinations of visual elements. Extracting a thread of structural order (however tentative) from the chaos of the natural world is the engaging challenge in this genre. While a particular place with its individual character of space and quality of light provides the basic template for my landscape images, information is necessarily edited, manipulated, and occasionally invented for abstract structural purposes. These images are therefore a synthesis of perception and improvisation.
Yet on the most basic level these images are just so much dirt on paper. The tactile presence of material compulsively manipulated is perhaps the only real part of this realism.