New work by Elaine Fischer at Telluride’s Stronghouse Studios

New work by Elaine Fischer at Telluride’s Stronghouse Studios

Telluride county commissioner Elaine Fischer is about to deliver the full monty to her constituency: a show of self-portraits that bare her soul opens on Thursday, August 6, at the Stronghouse Studios, part of the Telluride Council for the Arts and Humanties’ First Thursday Art Walk, an all-day showcase of the best of Telluride’s fine art and retail scene. Venues are open late until eight.

Elaine Fischer arrived in town in the 1980s. Fast forward nearly 30 years, Elaine is  a high profile and highly respected member of the community known mostly for her government and nonprofit work: HARC, town council, mayor, and today,  county commissioner. Two years ago, however, Elaine decided to return to her roots in fine art and start painting again – and it was a long time coming.

[double click to view in larger format]

Elaine created her first opus magnum in kindergarten. (The teacher hung it front of the class room  for weeks.) In elementary school, she was chosen for a special art program at the Carnegie Institute, one of only 300 Pittsburgh kids chosen to study theory and technique. Elaine attended the course from age 9 – 17, graduating high school with a rock solid background in ceramics and painting. At Rhode Island School of Design, Elaine learned to sculpt. Sculpting lead to a deeper interest in painting – and no wonder: Elaine is the niece of world renowned painter Philip Pearlstein, whose tactile nudes appear to have been sculpted with paint.

Elaine Fischer shares other things with Uncle Phil: adjectives such as matter of fact, sharp, hard, clear, not idealized, in your face that describe the work of Philip Pearlstein can easily be applied to Elaine’s new body of work. (Pun intended.)

As an art form, portraiture falls into two camps: the brush for hire, whose job is to enshrine social and public roles; and students of human nature, who tend not to decorate reality. Elaine Fischer’s new work falls in the latter art for art’s sake camp. Nothing about her new work is politically correct. Pointing her paint brushes at her heart,  Elaine Fischer winds up revealing bare naked truths about who she really is  – and the fact she is one heck of a painter.

Uncle Phil would be very proud.

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