Kirsten Fischler, The Galleries at the Chamber

Kirsten Fischler, Knotty Thoughts: Dentritical, reclaimed wood, acrylic, oil, colored wax on hardboard, The Galleries at the Chamber, Center for Emerging Visual ArtistsArts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia

Life is a process … so is art.

Kirsten Fischler stays in the midst of metamorphosis most of the time. Her work reminds us that visual, nature-based aesthetics and the physical manipulation of materials have not been truly exhausted … there are still new and exciting avenues to explore within the parameters of the traditional aesthetic concept of the sublime. – Kirsten Fischler artist statement.

Kirsten Fischler, The Galleries at the Chamber

Kirsten FischlerThe Galleries at the ChamberCenter for Emerging Visual ArtistsArts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia

Kirsten Fischler and DoN talked about the artwork installed at The Galleries at the Chamber in one of the board rooms at the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia.

“I’ve been working with reclaimed wood for about twenty years now. I started dumpster diving back in the early nineties. I was trained as an illustrator and I had been working on canvas and linen that I was stretching but I didn’t like that bounce that occurs when you have a large canvas. So, I started looking for materials that were more immediate, it was also the process of building the structure. I like the solidity of the wood. I liked the fact that it was discarded. I like the grain that occurs naturally. So, it was a matter of pulling out patterns that exist by themselves and taking Nature and manipulating it because we’ve been working with wood for thousands of years. Manipulating it in many different ways.

I think there’s a certain primal aspect to that, it’s very physical, it’s not like the way that I was trained in terms of being an illustrator. You know? Drawing from the model for four years, learning all the techniques of painting and illustration. I had been doing – I actually teach perspective – so I’m well versed in both perspective from the standpoint of a fine artist as well as an interior designer. Or drafts-person. I also was teaching drafting. Even though I was using it years ago it’s not apparent because I needed something that was more primal to remind me of a way to express myself with something that had more impact. And that was mainly the key behind it.”


Kirsten Fischler, The Galleries at the Chamber

Kirsten FischlerThe Galleries at the ChamberCenter for Emerging Visual ArtistsArts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia

“Plus! On top of that, it was the fact it was a resource that was available, it was free and there’s the sensation of sanding the wood and cutting the wood. Most of my cutting is done with handsaws. So, it’s that hand-made process that becomes part of the process. It’s the repetition that comes both with the sawing, the sanding, it’s the act of manipulating something so that it becomes something else.”

DoN thought they looked like neurons.

“These are neurons. My partner is a neuropathologist at Penn, at HUP and she had seen this painting and there’s this one that looks specifically like a neuron, she saw that and said, ‘Wow! That looks like a neuron!’ So, that inspired a whole series. In fact, this piece is neuronal network retina inside the eye and this is based on a medical drawing by a neurologist who was spanish, he was pre-neurology. He would look at the microscope in the 1800s and draw what he saw because they didn’t have photography at that point, they didn’t have macro-photography. He would draw these images, I took it and made it much more three dimensional because these pieces stick out. Again, I’m playing with the grain of the wood. I’m trying to show some of the visual things that are similar in terms of the natural world of the brain and the natural world of wood and the grain and root structures.”

Kirsten Fischler, The Galleries at the Chamber

Kirsten FischlerThe Galleries at the ChamberCenter for Emerging Visual Artists, Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia

DoN mentioned how it was like the movie Avatar.

“I did s series of root vegetables and they look like neurons as well. When you’re holding a beet that’s still has the root structures attached to it and you have the long stem up. it’s like the main dendrite coming out of the beet. It’s very interesting to see the different structures on different levels whether they’re macro or micro. In large and small. We have certain structures that occur repetitively, it’s that play of the natural world and the man-made manipulation. One of the reasons I choose rectangular forms is that I like to play the rectangular forms against the organic forms. And that represents the woman-made aspect of working in rectangular forms and repetition in that way.” – interview with Kirsten Fischler

Read more about The Galleries at the Chamber at DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten August 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Thank you for interviewing me and sharing my work.

I’m not sure the Studs Terkel approach to interviewing works well for me during an opening, given the numerous interruptions which forced me to stop, rethink what I had been saying and restart where I had left off.

Thanks again,
Kirsten Fischler

admin August 15, 2013 at 7:07 am

Thank Kirsten – You’re awesome! – DoN

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