Eric Fischl, The Travel of Romance, Scene V (1994), oil on linen, 70″ x 54″; courtesy Mary Boone Gallery
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Eric Fischl’s recent paintings are surprisingly forthright–basically, variations of a model in the studio. After the pointless distortions of scale in his previous show, this is a welcome development. (Fischl has proven himself prone to artiness; you’d think being a figurative painter in the Age of Conceptualism makes him nervous.) These are also Fischl’s mildest scenarios to date: No implied pedophilia, incest or beastiality. Yet his skills as a paint-handler and colorist, never mind draftsmanship, aren’t strong enough to make the images connect as painting. Fischl’s attempts at emulating Manet and Hopper are fussy, unconvincing. In retrospect, sensationalism may have been his all, and that is never enough.
(c) 1994 Mario Naves
A version of this review was originally published in the December 1994 edition of The New York Review of Art.