An Altered Point of View
July 10 – August 25, 2017
Friday July 21, 2017 at 5:30pm
The Arts Center
Athens Area Council for the Arts welcomes Johnson City, TN, artist and graphic designer, Nancy Fischman, in the exhibit, Surface Geographies, An Altered Point of View.
Nancy Fischman was born in New York City and raised nearby. She was close enough to visit museums, go to concerts, see plays, and take piano lessons. She especially enjoyed visiting the ancient civilization museum collections with reconstructed ancient pottery, and more contemporary crafts exhibits. Exposure to the arts at an early age made her a lifelong fan.
Nancy moved with her husband to Johnson City, TN, in 1978. With an undergraduate degree in Geography, she earned a master’s degree in that field from East Tennessee State University. She has worked for the City of Kingsport, The Road Company, a not-for-profit professional theater company in Johnson City, as development director, and managing editor for Now & Then magazine, published by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at ETSU. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, most recently for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and the Johnson City Area Arts Council.
While she was studying for her master’s degree, Fischman took pottery classes with Jonesborough potter, Gary Gearhart. At the age of 60, Nancy signed up for a class at ETSU with Don Davis and began to create pottery in earnest. Study of several contemporary artists led her to Peter Voulkos and his dramatic clay constructions. The use of distorted wheel-thrown work altered and added onto intrigued her and she began experimenting with slab constructions, creating a series of bottle forms.
With the use of molds to form the bases, Nancy moved to building sculptural bowl forms that are also functional. She uses a variety of firing atmospheres for her stoneware pieces, from gas reduction to wood, wood-salt, and gas-fired soda. Her pieces are treated with engobes using a paper resist technique, carving, or impressed template forms to create surface patterns, and then glazed with at least two different glazes to add surface interest.
Nancy has recently purchased a building in downtown Johnson City, which, after renovation, will become artist studios with a teaching space and a gallery. “The goal,” she said, “is to create an arts incubator, where recent college graduates who have studied art can have access to low-cost studio space where they can explore art as a career and have access to speakers who will further their education in art as a business.”
Cindy Saadeh Fine Art in Kingsport and the Museum Store at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Va., carry Fischman’s work. She is a member of the Northeast Chapter of Tennessee Craft and has participated in group shows at Jonesborough Fine Art in the Park, the Johnson City Area Arts Council Gallery, Nelson Fine Art in Johnson City, Slocumb Gallery and the Reece Museum at ETSU, Kingsport’s Carousel Fine Art Show, and Journeys of Women, an invitational show produced by the East Tennessee Foundation’s Women’s Fund of East Tennessee. She had a one-woman show at William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Va., in 2015.
Nancy Fischman’s Artist Statement
My work has been influenced by natural and manmade elements. I take inspiration from rock formations and stone circles, European tile roofs and golden rays swimming just under the surface of the ocean; my most recent work uses areal landscape patterns and electron micro-photographs of plant material as inspiration. I look for edges and lines connecting one surface to another. I find interest in natural and man-made architectural forms, the way surfaces meet and intersect through planes and edges. My forms are constrained, yet loose—with non-symmetrical shapes and unrefined rims.
I use molds to form the bases of my sculptural bowl forms that are also functional. I have used a variety of firing atmospheres for my stoneware pieces, from gas reduction to wood, wood-salt, and gas-fired soda. My pieces are treated with engobes—colored slips—using a paper resist technique, carving, or impressions to create surface patterns, and then I glaze them with at least two different glazes to add to the surface interest. My work is a culmination of technique and process and represents this point in my life where the making of art is compelling and gratifying.