"Beverly Fishman: Color Coding Big Pharma" By Zachary Small — CUE Art Foundation
Fishman and his band Phish have been going strong for 35 years with a New Years ; Phish's relationship with Madison Square Garden. Fishman took part in a panel discussion about the relationship between art and money at Banfill Locke Center for the Arts on Friday, June Fishman Artists ARTIST ROSTER ARTIST VIDEOS.
For too long we have allowed arts and culture to be treated as a nicety—the first budget cut and the last investment made.
I have had the opportunity to work on poverty alleviation, educational equity, environmental health, and many other issues.
Increasingly, I see that solutions to our most critical problems are not to be found in institutional hierarchy or traditional policy and enforcement models, but rather in collective action, dispersed innovation, and shared responsibility. About 35 years ago, we had a water pollution problem. We passed the Clean Water Act and enforced shutting downpipes that dumped toxins into our rivers. Today, more river miles are polluted not from industrial polluters, but from the actions of individual Americans that end up impacting their watersheds.
There is no way to monitor and enforce whether every American conserves water, makes alternative transportation choices, etc. However, when people and communities are armed with information, imagination, and the ability to engage with one another, we can change public will, our actions, and impacts. This is true for protecting our drinking water, preventing child abuse, dealing with climate change, and the list goes on.
Our economy is moving from being manufacturing-based to being innovation-based. Are we fostering the imaginative capacity to compete? We are faced with cataclysmic food, fuel and water issues if we do not address our reliance on a carbon economy. But are we sparking the creative thinking to find new technologies and new ways to work with nature?
We have a dramatically changing population that is shifting the demographics of voters, students, workers, and leaders. Do we have the multicultural humility and the cultural context to leverage this change as an asset? I deeply believe that, in the future, human, social, and creative capital will have the greatest impact. And this is where arts and culture are a necessity.
There is no discipline that nurtures and sparks the cognitive ability to imagine, and unleashes creativity and innovation, more than arts and culture. As a practitioner of color theory, she is recalling the lessons of Modernism and Minimalism, exercising restraint for maximum effect.
The neon colors she uses are like candy coding for her pills, hiding darker cores that represent the sinister side of addiction and withdrawal.
Harkening back to the apothecaries of yore, Fishman crafts her pills from scratch, choosing her fluorescent colors based on luminosity and contrast, while working in the painterly tradition of artists mixing their own colors. Evoking the minimalism of Josef Albers, Fishman believes in the power of color as an illusory force.
Helaine Posner: Louise Fishman. Prestel Publishing (Hardcover)
Untitled Anxietyfor example, uses its four parts to explore the subtle shades between pink and white. With the right concoctions, Fishman imbues her work with such vibrancy that her pills envelop viewers into her aesthetic world.
The luminescent effects she creates echo her longstanding interest in glow paint, as in her earlier glow-in-the-dark ecstasy pills. Here, the artist paradoxically fills a void with nothing, nothing but the slightest suggestion of color—photons invisibly bouncing off a hard surface.
No art? No social change. No innovation economy.
In a Rothko painting, color repeatedly unseats itself in the picture plane, shifting between foreground, background, and middle ground. More symbolically, the faintness of the glow hints at a dulling of the senses or shift in perception like that experienced by a drug user.
The colorful haze suggests the correlation between biochemistry and color, reminiscent of ancient alchemy, a Greco-Roman precursor to modern medicine. Following a crude Aristotelian system called the four humors, soothsayers composed a complex dialectic aimed at connecting physical and mental illnesses with imbalances in bodily liquids; in turn, those liquids came to be associated with colors, especially dark green, red, yellow, and a murky blue.
Through the signifiers of color, the doctor would prescribe treatment.
We see the legacy of this system today in the tones we associate with sickness. By tapping into the visual history of medicine, Fishman obfuscates the division between the corporal and the pharmaceutical. She successfully implicates what is at stake in an unchecked medical industry: For pill-takers, the fear of unknowingly ingesting dangerous drugs is very real.
Who is to say which specific chemicals in a drug are safe and which are not? How could average consumers know if they are swallowing a placebo or the real thing?
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Fishman questions the reliability of pharmaceuticals by addressing the mysteries of internal medicine. Even when a capsule is split in half, it reveals nothing about the actual contents of its curatives—all we see is a chemical dust. This irony is not lost on Fishman who relays the divide between manufacturer and consumer.Fishman Loudbox Mini, Artist and Performer Overview