Ethel Fisher

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Ethel Fisher
Self + Rafael Fernandez
Acrylic, gelatin silver print, printed papers, and graphite on Arches paper.
12 x 11.5 inches (30.5 x 29.2 cm)
Gift of the Estate of Ethel Fisher Kott.

Recto: signed and dated, "Ethel Fisher 1966"; verso: upper right, "Self + RAFAEL Fernandez"


Fisher studied at the Art Students League in the 1940s, where she befriended fellow artists Henry Pearson and Will Barnet. She spent the 1950s in Miami, developing an abstract style of painting inspired by Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, and exhibited in the U.S. as well as in Havana, Cuba. While living in New York again in the 1960s, she began a transition from abstract to figurative work. The circle collages, which she created between approximately 1966 and 1977, bridge that transition, as well as her move to Los Angeles in 1969. Fisher seems to have adopted a set of limited parameters for this body of work. Each collage is framed by concentric circles of acrylic paint in a restricted palette. Within the circular frame, she usually pasted a photograph of artist-friends or family members, which she painted on and around. This collage was created early on in the series, before Fisher had settled on the use of a single subject. Among its elements are a camera, a jar of shoe polish, a self-portrait, and a man who may be the Costa Rican artist known as Rafa Fernández (1935-2018).

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