Arline Fisch: Aquatic Bloom
June 9 – August 4, 2018
The Craft in America Center is pleased to present a solo exhibition of knitted metal sea creatures by pioneering artist Arline Fisch. For this installation, Fisch’s work will transform the Center into an oceanic aquarium with vibrant wire jellyfish floating through the space and a coral reef filling the window. The title of the exhibition refers to a group of jellyfish, i.e. a bloom. Fisch will go down in history as the first person to use metallic wire with the methods of textiles. At a time when few, if no other women were working with metals in the art world, Fisch revolutionized the material. She transcended the rigidity of wire by shaping it into organic, rounded forms. With Aquatic Bloom, Fisch is calling attention to the sheer majesty and beauty of our oceans and what we need to desperately protect.
With more than fifty years of mastery under her belt, Arline Fisch is one of the most respected jewelry makers and metalsmiths in the field. Her work melds jewelry, sculpture, and adornment techniques. She incorporates the structure of textiles and fiber craft into metal-based pieces that are often inspired by ancient cultures and the natural world.
Fisch incorporates various materials and textile processes by knitting, plaiting, and weaving in order to create her work. In addition to her blooms of jellyfish and other sea life, she creates collars, pectorals, and head ornaments in a larger than usual scale. Drawing from ancient civilizations such as Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and pre-Colombian, she weaves the ideas extracted from past cultures with contemporary concerns to create layers of visual meaning. With this body of work, Fisch continues her investigation of the ancient with jellyfish, the oldest multi-organ animals on the planet.
Fisch is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in Crafts from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, designation as a California Living Treasure, and multiple Fulbright fellowships to travel to Uruguay, Vienna, and Denmark. The artist received her BS from Skidmore College and MA from the University of Illinois. She has taught at Skidmore College, Wheaton College, and San Diego State University, where she founded SDSU’s jewelry program in 1961. She has been a trustee of the American Craft Council, a founding member and president of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, and a trustee of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and is represented in numerous collections and exhibitions around the world.