Beverly Fishman

Detroit, Michigan, USA

I explore combinations of optically intense form and color as avenues for social critique. Shapes are derived from the structures of common pharmaceuticals, while colors reference skin tones—sold to us through cosmetics—and the realms of technology and industry, as indicated by non-natural, industrial hues, such as those produced by fluorescent and automobile paints. Mining the histories of geometric and hard-edge abstraction and pop art, and re-configuring them through strategies of appropriation and references to living bodies and seductive objects, I hope to uncover a formal and chromatic politics. Post-painterly forms are linked to real world commodities that we take to improve health as well as to augment or transform our bodies and our minds. Abstract hues refer to skin colors, the materials we use to change them, and industries—like Big Pharma and advertising—that help us form and regulate ourselves. Do the colors that we assign to our exteriors become different depending on juxtaposition and context? And are we ever exclusively “natural” constructs? Emphasizing contradiction, I choose forms that play between abstract shape and logo—perception and language—and mix different systems of color, implicating both synthetic and natural worlds. To remain suspended between seduction and critique is a difficult but productive task. While the permutations derived from the combination of simple shapes can resemble a cocktail of prescription pills, personalized to the particular chemistry of the individual viewer, they may also reveal a utopian beyond: a new world where human and machine combine.

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