Julia Fish

Entry – Fragments, 1999

“ … I chose the native marble, that fair substance which, once cut, stays so faithful to human measurements and proportions that the plan of an entire temple survives in each fragment of a broken column.”

Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

Just as the fiction writer employs language, I live and think through images. My work begins with an interest in something that I’ve simply seen and thus reflects, and allows me to reflect upon, everyday experience. Through painting and drawing, I have learned to test both visual and verbal language. I want to stretch the meaning of a given ‘subject,’ rearrange its visual syntax and speculate on the sometimes contradictory process of picturing, naming and knowing.

This work has directed me to questions regarding the nature of perception and memory, and to the examination of both tangible and other more transitory experience, which I found for many years in the larger, natural world and recently in my immediate surroundings — sections of floors and walls, the garden in all seasons, or views held within the windows of home and studio. Such varied sources have kept me alert. Each has required that I recognize and translate a certain attribute, a specific abstraction held within the subject(s) I have sought to represent.

In 1997 my attention turned to the patterned tiles in the entryway of my home, a floor like so many others, surprisingly common in houses and storefronts built during the early part of this century. And though joined to that history, these small, hand-set tiles delineated and measured a space that had grown particular for me — a place inside, yet not a room — an ordered surface that registered, always, the first step returning and last step away.

It was both obvious and natural to record the overall orientation of this floor at actual size, to begin with a drawing for Entry – Plan. The square-tiled border with entwined meander of red, black and green framed the white hexagonals surrounding the decorative cluster in the center section; their sequence and character determined the first of what would become eight paintings, collectively titled Entry. In the four initial [ Fragments ], the juxtaposition of two distinct structural patterns — square against hexagon, border to center — amplified the sense of physical displacement established in each canvas, and led me to postulate a second set of Entry paintings of identical size and orientation. This second group, with the appended titles Negative Armature Reconstructed, Spectre, Missing, and Widerschein, allowed me to picture an inverse image to a painted subject: a theoretical image, through which surface and interior, fact and recollection could be equally scaled, contradicted and reflected.

August, 1999