Where Michelangelo used a chisel to free beautiful figures trapped within marble blocks, Rob Fischer wields industrial saws to expose the aesthetics of detritus. In Altar, he stands the rust-riven framework of a 20-yard dumpster on end and replaces the battered metal walls with polished mirrors, evoking some shiny corporate tower infused with the castaway lives it has displaced.
An even larger piece, Chapters 1-4, seems to have been deposited by a rogue tornado: Chunks of rooms and hallways rest on discarded palettes, the splintered tongues of floorboards jutting from grimy grooves. Junction boxes hang askew, naked lightbulbs worrying every poorly sanded wall joint while revealing the indelible stains of transients; earthy mold blooms under cracked paint slathered over rudely truncated faucets. Disconcertingly bright new pipes snake through the gallery, binding together the cramped spaces of this ramshackle homestead while providing the soothing ambience of trickling water. Recirculated through a swampy greenhouse and an excavated section of yard deeply gouged by a truck tire, the liquid takes on a warm hue somewhere between umber rust and the bright-orange safety cords that power the installation. Summoning nature’s eternal cycle of decay and regeneration, Fischer’s work has a sublime, if haphazard, grace.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 1, 2005