Telluride's Art Walk: Elaine Fischer Opens Fifth Show @ Stronghouse Studios

A show of new work, her fifth at the Telluride Council for the Arts & Humanities' Stronghouse Studios, by local artist and county commissioner Elaine Fischer opens Thursday, part of the all-day showcase of Telluride's fine art and retail scene, with venues open late until eight. (For further information about what's happening at other locations, go to the TCAH website or call 728-8959 or 728-3930.)

"Mixed Messages" makes it abundantly clear Fischer has come into her own as an artist. A survey of the work, which runs the gamut from abstraction to portraiture to still-lifes, even a landscape and several bowl-like shapes, points to a virtuoso whose through-line is authenticity. Naturalism be damned. Fischer uses shape and color to express her true emotions with a detachment from any conventional notions of beauty: What she feels is what you get. And that is true even for the self portraits. Here is someone who can look in a mirror without squinting. The one in her studio. And the mirror of life.

"I have been painting consistently for almost five years. I have seen how my painting has evolved, gained strength and confidence.  The world of color continues to amaze me. Its juxtapositions and overlays combine to create an exciting new visual and tactile experience. In my fifth show at the Stronghouse, I continue to explore conflicting emotions within Abstract painting, but also colors and patterns in relationship to the figure, still-Life, and landscape. This year I have also included three simple bowl-like forms that link back to my life as a sculptor, but even these shapes incorporate the color and patterning I experiment with as a painter. My studio space continues to give me the sense of freedom that I need to experiment with my creative process. The classical music which I love and listen to while I am working opens doors to new areas of expression without fear. A mark, a line, a brush stroke on a surface, and a phrase of music can evoke similar emotions."

Part of Fischer's growing gifts are genetic. She is the niece of the world-renowned hyper realist Philip Pearlstein, who sculpted in paint. But Fischer's talents were also encouraged and nurtured in a classroom at the Ah Haa School for the Arts. One of Fischer's mentors is Telluride local Robert Weatherford, a master painter with an international reputation, who is represented locally by the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art. A show of Weatherford's expressionistic work is on display for Art Walk at the Ah Ha School for the Arts, 300 South Townsend. A side-by-side comparison reveals the common thread between teacher and student: Weatherford taught Fischer (as he teaches all his students) to paint her feelings about a thing, not the thing itself. The ability to communicate an authentic response to whatever the stimulus is his greatest gift to his students and Weatherford's ultimate legacy.

Watch Clint Viebrock's video for a preview of Fischer's show.

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