Even at first glance, Matthew F Fisher’s show of ink drawings is long on charm and quirk. Hung in a single row in this modest space aptly named Sardine, the 30 works on paper feature meticulously limned scenes of nature.
Fisher’s renderings limit the natural world to only a few motifs, stylized to the point of eccentricity. Bent grasses assume calligraphic forms. Crashing waves, striated like tresses of hair and made effervescent by tiny collaged bubbles, break in several directions at once, often framing a celestial orb. As in the Surrealist André Breton’s notion of “convulsive beauty,” the world in Fisher’s images shapes itself into a kind of writing.
Fisher’s often humorously literal line recalls cartoons, and his ornamental treatment of natural phenomena brings to mind certain strains of folk art. But these drawings also evoke the abstracting love for nature’s vitality shared by early American modernists like Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as an oddball mysticism. Quietly cultivating an idiosyncratic vision, Fisher’s work becomes nothing short of visionary.—Joseph R. Wolin